The Christmas lights are officially shining in Chesapeake Beach. An over-20-year tradition continued Sunday, Nov. 27 as dozens gathered at town hall for “The Town of Chesapeake Beach Lights up the Town” ceremony.

Mayor Bruce Wahl estimated over 200 attended the program. Holiday music was performed by the Beach Elementary School Fifth Grade Band under the direction of Marilyn Beeson and Christmas carols were sung by members of Brownie Troop 4343.

Wahl said the town’s Public Works Department started the long, tedious process of hanging the lights along the municipality’s main roadways right after Halloween. The town uses environmentally friendly light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

“They are a little expensive but they pay for themselves in the long-run,” said Wahl.

Chesapeake Beach’s famous “Mother Christmas,” Jo Finch, greeted the gathering and introduced special guest, Santa Claus.

“I’ll never be tired of Christmas,” said Finch, a former town councilmember, who started the tradition of lighting up the bayside town 22 years ago at the behest of then-Mayor Gerald Donovan.

Finch was able to raise $22,000 for the purchase of Christmas lights and decorations and town officials matched that amount.

Donovan’s vision was to replicate Christmas light displays in some of Maryland’s other bayside municipalities.

The lighting up of Chesapeake Beach isn’t confined to those town government installs. Town residences and businesses also go all out in a sponsored competition. The Brightest Beacon on the Bay competition culminates with judging Dec. 12.

In addition to homes and businesses, boats may also be decorated and judged.

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