DEARBORN, Michigan – Kicking off the holiday season, five-year-old Amara El-Mahmoud, a kindergartener at Lowrey Elementary School, turned on the lights at the City of Dearborn’s Christmas Tree Lighting and Sing-Along on Nov. 22, with the help of her mother, Melinda Rida; sister, Clara Ayoub; and teacher, Karen Slack.
Before she lit the tree at the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center, Amara accepted the gift of a Dora the Explorer doll from Mayor John B. O’Reilly, Jr. Amara, who has cerebral palsy, enjoys coloring, playing with princess dolls and stuffed animals, and watching Dora the Explorer on television.
Rain throughout the evening did not dampen the spirits of Amara or the hundreds of children and adults who attended the festivities to see the tree lighting, enjoy holiday entertainment provided by the Dearborn Community Bell Choir, the Dearborn Youth Symphony Flute Choir, and the Dearborn Public Schools Honors Choir. Participants young and old also enjoyed complimentary hot chocolate and donuts, and sharing their Christmas wishes with Santa.
Dearborn’s 2011 Tree Lighting Ceremony and Sing-Along was organized by the City of Dearborn with support from the Dearborn Lions Club, Tim Horton’s of Dearborn, Park Place Catering, Nigosian Oriental Rug Company and C&A Type and Graphics.
Those who attended the Tree Lighting received free admission to see the beautiful trees, wreaths, and gingerbread displays at the Festival of Trees fundraiser for the Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation. The Festival runs through Sunday, Nov. 27 in the Hubbard Ballroom at the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center. Tickets may be purchased on site. More information about the Festival of Trees is available at www.fot.org or by calling 734-748-3822.