The lights came on in Gardner Nov. 30 as hundreds of community members watched. The switch for the lights for the annual Mayor’s Christmas Tree ce;ebratopm were flipped on as Steve Shute, mayor, and Todd Winters, mayor elect, looked on. Santa and Mrs. Claus arrived via JCFD#1 fire truck, officially beginning the holiday season in Gardner. Photos courtesy of Isabella Hermansen

Lynne Hermansen
Special to The Gardner News
Hundreds of Gardner residents enjoyed unseasonably warm late Autumn weather for the 31st Mayor’s Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony.
Festivities kicked off at 7 p.m. November 29 with choirs from Gardner  and Edgerton elementary schools singing carols. Gardner-Edgerton’s High School Choir The Madrigals, dressed as 18th century Dicken’s novel characters, accompanied.
Steve Shute, mayor, welcomed the crowd with a holiday message before introducing Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus’s arrival and Todd Winters, mayor elect, with his family.
Mr. and Mrs. Claus arrived via firetruck under the careful watch and care of Johnson County Fire District 1.
Shute requested the crowd hold up their cel lphones on flashlight mode stating they had never done that before at the ceremony.
“This is my last address as the Mayor of Gardner,” he said. “Take a look at the lights out here—you all are the real lights of Christmas.”
Shute said the community members were the most powerful part of Christmas with the way they share their lights with their neighbors.
“I am so happy we are able to get together this year,” he said.
Shute said the crowd and festivities were amazing after more than a year of enduring the Covid pandemic.
“I am thankful to be part of the jubilant kickoff to the season,” he said. “I am so blessed to be a part of this the last few years.”
Shute said it was his favorite time of year.
“It is when Gardner shines the brightest,” he said. “The greatest asset is our community.”
Shute said the bright lights of the community make the season special and help Gardner blaze new trails.
“There is no place I’d rather be – especially in the most festive times,” he said.
Winters and his family, Santa and Mrs. Claus and Shute pushed the lever lighting up Cornerstone Park.
Santa opened his workshop to receive visitors.
Upcoming Gardner Parks And Rec Activities:
Saturday, December 4–Photos with Santa—Cornerstone Park
Saturday, December 11–Breakfast with Santa—JoCo Fairgrounds
Sunda December 12–Santa’s Workshop—Cornerstone Park
Thursday, December 16–Flashlight Candy Cane Hunt—Cornerstone Park