MEDINA — More than 2,500 people braved the brisk temperatures and wet weather Friday for the 34th annual lighting of the Christmas tree in the gazebo on Public Square.
The 12-foot tree, dubbed the Community Celebration Tree, was donated by the Davis Tree Farm & Nursery, of Valley City.
The lighting on the square had a twist this year. In previous years, city workers had to flip on four transformers from the corners of the square for its lighting ceremony.
John Coyne IV, son of City Council President John Coyne, built a remote control switch so the square could be lit from the gazebo. His father said he’s a budding engineer.
“He loves it,” the senior Coyne said.
Despite his contribution, his 13-year-old son couldn’t be present for the lighting of the square. He was on his way to Washington, D.C., on the annual eighth-grade trip. He checked in on Facetime.
“It was his contribution to Medina, lighting the gazebo,” the council president said.
Lute Harmon Jr., chairman, president and publisher of Ohio Magazine, was on hand to celebrate the magazine’s selection of Medina as one of five great hometowns in the state.
“I have one of the greatest jobs in Ohio,” he said. “We get to celebrate the beauty of the state. We’ve been telling our stories for 40 years.
“We educate people about Ohio and the sights to see. Medina has everything you could ask for.
“It’s someplace that’s great to live and visit.”
Harmon, who presented a plaque to Medina Mayor Dennis Hanwell, said the city is welcoming to visitors.
“I commend you for your warmth,” he said.
Joining Hanwell, his wife Chris and their 2-year-old granddaughter, Madison, in the gazebo was the rest of council, many members of the administration, Medina County Commissioner Bill Hutson and state Rep. Steve Hambley, R-Brunswick.
A proclamation was presented from Senate President Larry Obhof,
R-Montville Township, who couldn’t make it for the lighting ceremony, the first night of the three-day Candlelight Walk.
The Medina County Show Biz Company sang Christmas carols after the lighting ceremony.
“It’s an honor to lead the festivities this year,” Hanwell said. “This is the city’s 200th anniversary and the 34th year of the Candlelight Walk. The first year of the Candlelight Walk, I was a patrol officer walking the square.”
He said the Candlelight Walk is “generously supported by 75 businesses.”
“It’s the biggest and best holiday celebration in Northeast Ohio.”
Hanwell marveled at all the volunteers who came out to decorate the square.
“There were so many people, they looked like ants,” he said. “There were 125 volunteers, many of them high school students.”
Root Candle was the title sponsor of the event. Brad and Kathy Root and family were also on hand for the ceremony.
Contact reporter Bob Finnan at (330) 721-4049 or firstname.lastname@example.org.