Community rings in holiday season at tree lighting

Photo by Daniel Heraty

Dearborn Mayor John O’Reilly Jr. (left) greets Lowrey Elementary student Amara El-Mahmoud as her mother, Melinda Rida, her sister, Clara Ayoub and her teacher, Karen Slack look on. El-Mahmoud was the special guest during the city’s annual tree lighting ceremony and sing-along, held Nov. 22 at the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center. The tree lighting ceremony also included performances by the Dearborn Youth Symphony Flute Choir and Dearborn Public Schools Honors Choir.

DEARBORN – Kicking off the holiday season, 5-year-old Amara El-Mahmoud, a kindergartener at Lowrey Elementary School, turned on the lights at the city’s Christmas Tree Lighting and Sing-Along 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 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 doughnuts, and sharing their Christmas wishes with Santa.

The event was organized by the city 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.