About 220 Tucumcari residents, faculty, staff and students of Mesalands Community College gathered for the college’s courtyard lighting ceremony, combined with an annual reading of “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” sponsored by radio stations KTNM/KQAY Thursday evening.
The courtyard lighting ceremony was kept brief due to temperatures in the teens. Visitors then hurried into the college’s Great Room for the reading of the Christmas poem, music from local musician Rick Haymaker, verse from local poet Levi Mericle, and visits with Santa Claus.
Kevin Mueller, owner of the Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari, read the “Night Before Christmas” holiday classic as children clustered around his seat. That seat was later occupied by Santa Claus, who visited with a long line of kids, who then received age- and gender-appropriate toy gifts.