BELFAST — Post Office Square and the adjacent block of Church Street were packed with people of all ages late Saturday afternoon, all braving the cold to await the arrival of Santa Claus and the annual lighting of the city’s Christmas tree.

Santa’s head, center, is just visible as he bends low to speak with small children in Post Office Square Dec. 4. Photo by Carolyn Zachary

Beside the tree, set in place Nov. 29 and decorated Dec. 1, the city’s menorah, marking the eight days of Hanukkah, lit up the square. Church Street was barricaded for the occasion, and families gathered in eager anticipation as Christmas music filled the air, broadcast over a loudspeaker from the post office steps.

Looks like someone got a new puppy for Christmas and brought it to Post Office Square for the tree-lighting event Dec. 4. Photo by Carolyn Zachary

At about 4:45 p.m., with lights blazing and sirens blaring, a Belfast fire engine traveled down Main Street and stopped at the crowded square. Santa and Mrs. Claus quickly alighted from the truck and wasted no time entering the crowd to greet children and pose for pictures. Just after 5 p.m. came the countdown to light the tree, eliciting oohs and ahs from appreciative onlookers.

A youngster looks on from Dad’s shoulders, left, as onlookers snap photos of Santa Claus in Post Office Square Dec. 4.

Donated by GEO Environmental Remediation Co. of Belfast, the tree was put in place with the help of a crane loaned by Dan and Henry Miller of Belmont Boatworks, along with members of city departments including Parks and Recreation, Public Works, the Police Department and nonprofit Our Town Belfast. Central Maine Power Co. personnel assisted with decorating it Dec. 1.

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