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Photos: University Park Lights Tree

Santa made an appearance at the event.

For the first time, the annual University Park Christmas tree lighting was opened with a concert choir.

Mayor John Tabori opened the holiday tree lighting on Saturday night following the Christmas carols sang by the University Park Elementary School’s choir.

Around 300 residents and their children gathered around the tree after having a potluck dinner and enjoying a puppet show at the Riverdale Presbyterian Church.

After the tree was lit up, Santa arrived on a fire truck and children were able to see a performance of "Santa's Present" by the Blue Sky Puppet Theatre, as well as crafts and games.

The potluck dinner tradition before walking to the tree has been around in University Park for at least 10 years, said Carol Cron, the under-secretary of the town’s Civic Association which organized the Saturday activities.

The tree, on Henson Green, near the intersection of Sheridan Street, 40th Avenue and Queens Chapel Road, is lit through New Year's Eve.

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