A merry crowd kicked off the holiday season with plenty of good cheer at the annual Oak Bluffs tree lighting Wednesday night.

A sea of red antlers worn by children and parents alike whirled around the unlit tree at the center of Post Office Square, as the Vineyard Brass Ensemble filled the air with the sound of festive horns.

“We just want to give back to the community and spread joy,” said Christine Todd of the Oak Bluffs Association, which organizes the event. “It’s a very special night.”

The music stopped as the crowd began to count down from five before the grand moment of when the tree was lit.

Special honors went to fourth grade artist Gabby Preston for her painting of a crackling fireplace and tree.

There was much speculation about the height of the newly-lit tree.

“Fifteen feet,” Gabby estimated.

“We’ll I’m five feet, and it’s at least five of me,” deduced fellow fourth-grader Sofia Fisher.

Longtime event organizer Renee Balter was on hand to clear up any confusion.

“That’s a good question,” she said. “It’s at least 20 feet, but it seems to get bigger every year.”

After rounds of applause for the twinkling tree, Oak Bluffs music teacher Brian Weiland led the swaying crowd in rounds of carols with his brightly-lit guitar.

As the evening drew to a close, Ms. Balter stood by to help the volunteer firefighters load gift baskets filled with donations for the Island Food Pantry onto a truck.

“When you see the faces on these kids light up with the tree, it’s worth every moment,” she said.

Home page picture by Mark Preston.