The downtown Shelton community tree brightens Veterans Memorial Park (the Riverwalk), near the Rotary pavilion, on late Sunday night. (Photos by Brad Durrell)

A tree-lighting ceremony took place the previous night, on Saturday. It included caroling with Center Stage Theatre singers, hot cocoa, baked goods, and a visit from Santa Claus.

Children had been encouraged to create their own ornament before the lighting, including at a special ornament-making session at Plumb Memorial Library. The downtown tree was donated by Jones Family Farms.

New, unwrapped toys were collected for TEAM Inc.’s Toys 4 Kids drive during the event.

This was the first time a tree-lighting ceremony has taken place in downtown Shelton for awhile and the event attracted a good crowd despite the rainy weather that day, Mayor Mark Lauretti said during remarks at another event.

Celebrate Shelton

The tree-lighting ceremony is part of Celebrate Shelton, a citywide effort to promote holiday shopping at small businesses in the city.

As part of Celebrate Shelton, the Downtown Handmade Market — a “shop local” event with handmade artisan vendors — will continue during the next two Saturdays, Dec. 13 and 20.

The market takes place from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. inside the Conti Building, 415 Howe Ave., with parking near the Shelton Farmers Market Building. The artisan market is free and open to the public.

Learn more about the Celebrate Shelton initiative at www.CelebrateShelton.com.