Hundreds of Evanstonians gathered at Fountain Square Saturday evening for the traditional holiday tree lighting ceremony.

Members of the Evanston Children’s Choir serenaded the crowd with holiday tunes from a variety of traditions.

The event brought smiles to many faces.

Mayor Daniel Biss, presiding at his first tree lighting ceremony, thanked the crowd for turning out, and then invited four children to join him in throwing the giant switch to light the tree.

Santa smiles as the tree lights up.

After the tree was lit, families were offered the chance to pose with Santa for pictures — outdoors this year on a couch moved into the square.

The COVID-19 pandemic had canceled last year’s tree lighting ceremony, and things weren’t quite back to normal this year — most folks chose to remain masked against the disease.

The tree lighting ceremony was sponsored by Downtown Evanston.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.