NORTH ADAMS -- In the midst of the crowd surrounding the city's Christmas tree, Brandon Ansley bent down on one knee and pulled out an engagement ring.
In the distance behind him, the letters on the Mohawk Theater marquee spelled out, "Ang, Will you marry me?"
It was a proposal that was weeks in the making, and delayed a week, when rain postponed the city's annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony.
"I wanted this to be something she would remember. I didn't want it to be a plain Jane proposal I love this girl and would do anything to make her smile," Ansley, 24, of North Adams, said minutes after Angela Cirullo accepted his proposal. "I had her family stand behind her to block her view of the marquee until it was time. It took a lot of people to do this. All of my fellow Clarksburg [Fire Department] volunteers helped make this happen."
Cirullo, 22, stood surrounded by family and friends, smiling and quiet.
"Of course I said yes," she said. "I'm just very surprised."
Cirullo's mother, Denise, said she was surprised that Angela hadn't learned about the proposal prior to it taking place.
"They both work at the hospital," she said. "He was telling everyone about his whole plan. I don't know how she didn't hear about it from anyone. Then the rain canceled the tree lighting and I was sure she would find out."
Prior to the proposal, Ansley approached the Cirullos to ask for their permission to marry Angela.
"He was shaking like a leaf," Joe Cirullo said. "It was nice. You don't have many who do that anymore."
Ansley and Cirullo have been dating for almost four years.
"It's been the most amazing four years of my life," Ansley said.
As the couple was congratulated by well-wishers, crowds of children were busy chasing after the city's restored antique fire truck, as Santa and Mrs. Claus arrived.
The tree lighting ceremony marks the beginning of "Hometown Holidays" in the downtown. Local stores and galleries will remain open late every Thursday leading up to Christmas. The festivities begin tonight, 5 to 8 p.m., with gallery openings, visits from Santa and activities.
Mayor Richard J. Alcombright, prior to throwing the switch to light the tree, asked those in attendance to remember the holidays are "really about three things -- faith, family and friends."
Jennifer Huberdeau can be reached at