WESTPORT — Cold weather didn’t deter town officials and families from kicking off the holiday season with the annual Christmas tree lighting.

“Traditions like our Christmas tree lighting are something that makes Westport a special place to be a part of,” First Selectman Jim Marpe at the Thursday night ceremony.

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“Another thing that makes Westport special is its commitment to giving and supporting those less fortunate than we are,” Marpe said, noting the upcoming Westport police toy drive.

The Staples High School Orphenians sung carols during the ceremony, and the Westport Museum of History and Culture hosted a post-lighting party, which also saw a special visit from Santa Claus.

“We find it important to provide community events and a safe space,” said Nicole Carpenter, director of programs and education at the museum, adding the organization also looks to be inclusive of those celebrating other traditions.

“We have more and more people who are celebrating other holidays, and we want them to feel a part of the community as well,” Carpenter said.

RTM member Sal Liccione has enjoyed the annual tree lighting ceremony every year he’s attended.

“I think it’s good to be around the community,” he said. “It gets you in the holiday spirit.”

dj.simmons@hearstmediact.com