WYALUSING – Lights gleamed, trumpets tooted and voices sang.

“Oh, this is my favorite event of the year!” Rachel Sznaider declared.

Sznaider helped with the hot cider Friday at the annual Wyalusing Christmas in the Village. That night, happy local residents gathered downtown to sing carols, see the town’s Christmas tree light up and welcome Santa Claus. The Rainbow Club sponsored the event.

A volunteer at the event for at least 10 years, Sznaider passed out cups of cider on the cold night, running into lots of folks she sees only at this celebration. “I love to see all the faces and talk to all the people,” she said.

Everyone seemed to enjoy the community event. Accompanied by the Wyalusing Adult Band, they sang Christmas songs and later walked over to the Wyalusing Community Corp. building, where children could meet Santa, mail letters to him and do crafts.

“We’re a civic organization,” Rainbow Club President Jack Townsend explained. “The money that we raise goes back to the community to make the community a better place.” Projects include presenting scholarships and donating to the WCC building and the local museum.

The Presbyterian Church prepared the cider, and Rich and Nancy Yadlosky provided the large tree, standing on the church lawn.

“This is a good turnout,” Townsend commented.

Bundled in jackets and winter caps, guests sang “Jingle Bells,” “Oh Christmas Tree” (as the lights were turned on), “Silent Night” and more. Wearing a Santa cap reading “Ho, Ho, Ho,” Larry Gehring directed the band and led the singing.

“It’s lovely,” Peg Huyck said of the event, as she stood with her family. She felt it brought the small town together and put “everyone in the Christmas spirit.”

Lynn Petlock, Sznaider’s mother, also appreciated the coziness. “I love the small-town feel,” she said as the band played “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.”

She and her daughter handed out around 120 cups – 4 gallons — of hot cider. “Last year was a little bit warmer,” Sznaider remembered. “We didn’t go through as much.”

Finally, the big moment arrived, as Santa and Mrs. Claus rode up in the back of a pickup truck. They climbed out, greeted children and headed for the WCC building – for more magic, excitement and small-town fun.