Nearly 100 citizens joined the Jubilee Park Committee celebrate their annual Christmas lighting ceremony at Jubilee Commemorative Park on Saturday.

Park Committee members passed out cookies and hot cocoa to everyone who chose to brave the cold and rainy weather to participate in the event.

Local musician James Bonner entertained the crowd before the event started by playing "Here Comes Santa Claus" and "Silent Night" on the trumpet.

Elder Leroy Stokes of Neal Temple Church of God in Christ opened the ceremony with a dedication followed by warm welcome given by District 2 Councilwoman Willie Mae Kennedy.

City Administrator, Patty Larney was present and welcomed the citizens on behalf of the City of Leesville.

Vernon Middle School Choir and Danceline each performed as they have done so at every lighting ceremony in the past.

Mark and Christi Ashworth of Leesville attended the celebration for the second year to support their son who sings in the VMS choir.

Jubilee Park Committee President, Lou Kennedy, explained that they "began lighting the park each December as a way to bring the community together and to light up the area (with Christmas lights)."

The committee currently has 17 members and was started in 2008 as a non-profit organization dedicated to serving their community.

Each year they run a back to school program, a prayer breakfast, a walk-a-thon and they hold several fundraisers to raise funds for the Jubilee Park Committee Scholarship.

The highlight of the evening was a surprise appearance by Santa Claus right before the lights were turned on.

Many children were excited to see him and couldn't wait to have their picture taken with him.

The lighting ceremony takes place the first Saturday of December each year.