Rain didn't stop Ocean County from kicking off the holiday season Wednesday.
The county freeholders' annual tree lighting was moved inside the county Administration Building, where the assembled crowd and board were joined by retired Senior Chief Petty Officer Nicholas R. Scutti, a veteran of Pearl Harbor.
"It is a real honor to have a hero like Scutti here with us today," Freeholder Director Joseph Vicari said.
Kids from Walnut Street Elementary School in Toms River joined the festivities, singing classic holiday songs such as "Deck the Halls" and "We Wish You a Merry Christmas."
After the chorus finished singing, all of the children moved to the windows as the countdown began to light the tree. Just as "1" rang out, the tree, on the corner of Washington Street and Hooper Avenue in Toms River, was lit to announce the holidays have officially begun in Ocean County.