On Dec. 3, the citizens of Pioche gathered together at the park that overlooks Main Street for the annual tree lighting.
It was dark, the only light offered being the storefronts that lined the nearby road and the distant shine of a cross set high up on a nearby mountain peak. It was cold, with temperatures reaching 20 degrees that evening, yet dozens still gathered. Most of the attendees huddled around fires provided by the town.
First came the Christmas tree lighting. With very little ceremony, the town manager opened a nearby fuse box and ushered in a wave of twinkling lights that wrapped themselves around every tree and every feature in the park. The gazebo in the center was lined with strings of icicles, and little dots glittered upon the massive tree next to it, shining on the onlookers below. Even the old mining equipment was covered in lights from the mineshaft to the rails.
Soon after the lighting, sirens filled the air, heralding the coming of Santa Claus. While it was no sleigh conveyed by reindeer, the Pioche Fire Department’s fire engine let out its signature cry, bringing jolly old Saint Nick to the park. Santa was then able to sit with every child in attendance, listening to their dreams and desires for Christmas, offering them treats before they hurried off to their parents.
Locals had a place set up for people to eat and enjoy hot cocoa as they admired the lights or waited for their turn with Saint Nicolas. Those in attendance were able to roast marshmallows and make s’mores, or just warm their hands by the fire and enjoy the company of their neighbors.