The season's spirit sparkled brightly Wednesday evening with ceremonies to mark the lighting of Westport's Christmas tree at Town Hall, followed by a festive holiday reception downtown.
"This is the kind of thing that makes Westport a great place to live," said the recently elected Marpe, presiding over his first tree-lighting ceremony.
After the tree lighting, complemented by hot cocoa served to the crowd at the Westport Historical Society, the Downtown Merchants Association sponsored a holiday gathering -- "Celebrate the Season of Giving" -- in the hall of nearby Christ & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church. The crowd listened to holiday music, shared treats and got to spend time with Santa himself.
"We thought it would be a really fun activity to come and see the Christmas tree," said Riley Baker, 13, who joined her family for the tree lighting.
"We've never been here before, but we saw the pictures (from last year) and we thought it would be fun," she said.
"I love this," said Marisa Novello of Westport. "It's like the kick-off of the holiday."
"We're all very fortunate to be living here in Westport," said Marpe, "and we need to remember there are others who might not be as fortunate."
He reminded townspeople about the support needed for the seasonal project of the town's Human Services Department, which is again sponsoring its holiday gift-giving program for those in need.
"We're happy to be here and just have our first hot chocolate," said Brittany Steel, whose 2-year-old son Jack had his first taste of the sweet beverage served by the historical to warm the crowd. "It's so yummy," the youngster said.
"I love these little town activities," said Marcey Palmer, a longtime Westport resident. "Westport is fabulous. I love it here."