AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — As Dec. 1 rings in a most festive month, the Valley is off to a strong start with holiday festivities. One community kicked off with its annual tree lighting ceremony.

Austintown celebrated its 35th annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony Thursday evening.

Dozens of parent and kids came out to listen to carols and watch the lights come to life.

Joyce Pogany has been coming to Austintown Christmas celebrations for decades. She says the first time she came to one, she wanted to do more to make the event special and has been working to make this event better ever since.

“The township had a little event here with turning on the lights 36 years ago,” Pogany said. “I said, ‘We have to do something better than just turn on the lights.’ We had to get Santa to come on a firetruck.”

The event culminates with watching Santa come down Mahoning Avenue on a fire truck. After the lights are lit and carols sung, event-goers could go inside the Austintown fire station for hot cocoa and cookies — Santa’s favorites.