Santa Claus helped the city of Palm Coast light the tree at the ceremony at Central Park.
Despite causing a fuss and stealing the microphone from Palm Coast Mayor Milissa Holland, the Grinch's heart grew three sizes the night of Saturday, Dec. 1, as Santa Claus gifted him with candy canes, which encouraged him to not steal Christmas after all.
"We heard a rumor that the Grinch is trying to steal Palm Coast's holiday," Holland said as the hairy, green Dr. Seuss character walked up to the microphone. "But we will not let that shape of our tree take away our holiday spirit. We have so much in Palm Coast to be grateful for, so let's start this celebration."
The Christmas tree used for the tree-lighting ceremony at Central Park in Town Center was a little less full than the city of Palm Coast hoped for, but Holland encouraged the crowd to appreciate the many upcoming events this season put on by the Rotary Club of Flagler County, including the Festival of Lights around the pond in the park.
"This event is very important to us," Rotary Club of Flagler County President Cindy Kiel Evans said. "Bill Butler, one of our Rotarians, had this vision of this event for his young daughter, Tiffany, who had passed away a couple years before he came to the club to ask if we could put this event on in her honor. She loved Christmas light displays."
This year, there are 48 light displays, Evans said, as there are four more sponsors than last year.
The Festival of Lights will be lit for the public to enjoy 6:30 to 9 p.m. daily through Dec. 30, with live music for entertainment, at 975 Central Ave.
Guests heard from Holland and Evans before Santa Claus and the Grinch helped members of the Palm Coast City Council flip the switch to light the Christmas tree.
"My Palm Coast City Council members and I are so excited to share this occasion with so many beautiful children and families — our neighbors and our friends," Holland said. "Thank you to the Rotary Club of Flagler County for bringing us the amazing Fantasy Lights for the thirteenth straight year."
In addition to the tree-lighting, guests were invited to bid on Christmas trees decorated by Rotary Club sponsors. Rotarians arranged to soon deliver the Christmas trees to each of the highest bidders. Participants could also purchase codes to hopefully be one of the three winners whose code would open a jewelry box with contents donated by Greg Lynn Jewelers.
Kids lined up to meet Santa at Santa's Village. “A Taste of the Holidays” featured local restaurants that offered a wide assortment of small plates from 6-8 p.m. for $1 tickets.
Proceeds from the evening's festivities will benefit the Rotary Club of Flagler County. Evans said the club grossed $4,000 from the event.