SOMETIMES YOU CAN fool Mother Nature.

Community members gathered at Weber Point Events Center on Thursday evening for the city-hosted annual tree lighting ceremony — a much drier affair than the event originally scheduled Dec. 3 at Weber Point that was postponed due to rain forecasted for the day.  

“I wonder if there is a young person out there that would want to help me light the Christmas tree today,” Stockton Mayor Kevin Lincoln said, asking the children in the crowd to dance before picking a winner to light the holiday tree. 

Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” began playing on the speakers as the kids broke into their best dance moves as Mayor Lincoln picked out an 11-year-old Darrell Thomas Jr., a cheerleader attending the ceremony to perform alongside his team Cesar Chavez Junior Titans

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Kami Garcia, the fundraising coordinator for the team, said, “All of my kids are part of the team. My daughter is a mascot for the Titans,” pointing towards her 4-year-old daughter Zhavia Coleman. “They practiced very hard and were so excited to perform here.”  

City Manager Harry Black apologized for canceling the original tree lighting event during his address to the crowd at the ceremony. “We apologize for last week, but I think we all would agree that the weather was pretty nasty,” Black said. “It is great to see everyone in person again.” 

Black noted that the holiday tree lighting ceremony, a second one post pandemic, was important to celebrate as it gave the city an opportunity to officially bring in the holiday season.

Harika Maddala is a photojournalist based in Stockton covering San Joaquin County for Bay City News Foundation and its nonprofit news site Local News Matters. They are a Report for America corps member and a CatchLight Local Fellow.