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20091210_MissionLightingCeremony_0198MISSION — The Christmas season will kick into high gear tonight with the City of Mission hosting its annual tree lighting ceremony.

The event starts at 6 p.m. at the Leo Peña Plazita Park along Conway Avenue, near Business 83.

Last year, hundreds of families gathered to watch Mayor Norberto “Beto” Salinas light the city’s winter wonderland and watch local performers.

Until 9 p.m., residents can watch performances from the Veterans Memorial High School Mariachi and Veterans Memorial High School Choir. Other performances include El Valle Cloggers, Mission Parks Folklorico Group and the McAllen Memorial Folklorico Group.

Almost 30 bicycles will be raffled off, along with a number of other gifts for children. The raffle is free when children sign up with city officials at the event, but Parks and Recreation department officials said the winner must be present to collect their gift. Bicycles and other gifts will be raffled off every half hour.

Food vendors will also be at the park and local children can visit with Santa Claus who will be at the park until around 8:30 p.m.

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