Santa will light the Fountain Park Christmas Tree on Friday, Dec. 1 at 6 p.m. (DHI Media/File Photo/Kirsten Barnhart)
Santa will light the Fountain Park Christmas Tree on Friday, Dec. 1 at 6 p.m. (DHI Media/File Photo/Kirsten Barnhart)

VAN WERT – An annual holiday tradition will continue when Fountain Park is lit up with over 10,000 Christmas lights on Friday, Dec. 1. This year, the tradition will include music from local saxophone player Weston Thompson.

Thompson will be performing hit holiday classics with a jazz twist, which he says makes the songs more interesting to perform.

“I like jazz because I get to put my own spin on it because of solos,” said Thompson. “It’s challenging, so I enjoy it.”

Thompson, a 2009 graduate of Van Wert High School, has been playing the saxophone for just under 20 years. Thompson also played the piano growing up, but he continued playing saxophone in high school because he was able to play it in marching and concert band.

“I saw some cartoons like Arthur and Hey Arnold where characters were playing saxophone,” said Thompson. “I thought it looked cool, and I tried it.”

Thompson continued playing after he graduated and now performs with two local bands – Blind Date and Van Wert Jazz. While he enjoys performing in front of people, he hopes that people enjoy the music he is creating.

“I want the interesting part to be the music that I’m making, not my stage presence,” said Thompson. “I like to think that if you can appreciate musicality, then you’ll appreciate what I do.”

Thompson will be performing prior to the tree lighting as well as after the lighting.

Again this year, the Christmas Tree will be promptly lit at 6 p.m. in the Gazebo by Santa Clause. Santa will be present before and after to meet with children.

Truly Divine will be providing cookies and hot chocolate to guests.

Main Street Van Wert program manager Dan Baisden noted that a new feature this year will be a tunnel of lights. He also stated that Central Mutual Insurance helped to fund new lights this year.

“The tree lighting is a great way to start a tradition and a memory with your family downtown,” said Baisden. “And in such a visible place with it being in Fountain Park.”

The Park is decorated by volunteers. This year, Boy Scout Troop 35 also helped decorate.

Thompson hopes that the community will come out, enjoy the tree lighting, and support local music.