By George Solis

TOWSON, Md. (WJZ)– Baltimore County held its annual tree lighting ceremony Friday.

Another annual tradition signaled the start of the holiday season.

Baltimore County’s annual tree lighting in Towson is always an evening of joy and merriment for people of all ages.

“It’s exciting to be out here with everybody in the community,” Chimeira Thompson said. “I love how all the stores and everybody comes out and supports us.”

“This is a great time to visit all of your small business owners who live in your neighborhood and have great stuff and have great service,” said Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz.

The tree lighting is also a time for many families to bond.

Many came to cheer on the tiny dancers from the local dance school.

Of course, no tree lighting would be complete without a visit from the big guy himself.

Santa traded in his trademark sleigh for a county firetruck.

WJZ caught with Kris Kringle in between fulfilling Christmas lists.

“Oh, I love riding no that firetruck it’s beautiful,” Santa said. “Nice get to see all the kids everybody is hugging you.”

The tree lighting also signals the start of Winterfest in Towson, which brings some extra holiday fun while you shop and eat in the area.

The county will offer two hours of free parking while you shop and eat until Christmas.

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