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Menino returns to East Boston for annual Central Square tree lighting

Posted by Jeremy C. Fox  December 6, 2011 11:04 AM

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(Jeremy C. Fox for Boston.com)

East Boston families eagerly awaited the appearance of Santa Claus.

Around 100 residents gathered in Central Square at dusk on Sunday for the 13th annual Macy’s Enchanted Trolley Tour and the lighting of the East Boston Christmas tree.

After two years when health issues kept him away from the popular tour, Mayor Thomas M. Menino once again took the lead for its visit to 16 city neighborhoods. For the trolley’s final stop in Central Square, Menino was joined on the stage by the Commonwealth Brass Quartet; three young actors costumed as a Christmas tree, a toy soldier, and a ragdoll; and the biggest star of the day, Santa Claus.

“It’s always great to be on the trolley tour sponsored by the City of Boston and Macy’s,” Menino said after taking the stage. “These are the biggest crowds we’ve had in all the 13 years we’ve done this trolley tour, and I just want to thank the team that does all the work back here behind me.”

Menino then introduced Santa Claus, who joined him for the countdown. When they reached “one,” the lights sprang to life and a confetti cannon showered the attendees.

The crowd included City Councilor Salvatore LaMattina, Council President Stephen J. Murphy, and State Representative Carlo Basile, who attended the event not just as an elected official but as an East Boston parent, bringing along his sons Carlo, 5, and Christian, 4.

“This is great,” he said. “I love that the mayor does this every year. I have my boys out this year; they’re enjoying their first Christmas tree lighting here in Central Square because usually it’s cold out and they stay home. This is great for the community.”

Also in attendance was Diane J. Modica, a lifelong East Boston resident and downtown attorney who serves as first vice president of the East Boston Chamber of Commerce and is currently running unopposed for the organization's presidency. She credited Chamber of Commerce member Albert “Buddy” Mangini and Clark Moulaison, executive director of East Boston Main Streets, for putting together the celebration in cooperation with the city.

Modica said the event was an important holiday tradition but also a chance to take residents’ minds off hardships.

“I’m very excited about the tree lighting, and I think that it’s a tradition in this community as well as it is across the city, but especially this year, where so many people are having a tough time, I think anything you can do to really uplift people’s spirits is a positive move,” Modica said. “I just wish that everyone has a prosperous year and that we have an economic recovery so everyone will do better in the coming year.”

Email Jeremy C. Fox at jeremycfox@gmail.com.
Follow Jeremy C. Fox on Twitter: @jeremycfox.
Follow East Boston on Twitter: @EastBostonNews.

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(Jeremy C. Fox for Boston.com)

Mayor Thomas M. Menino and Santa Claus addressed the crowd in Central Square.

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