Sights and scenes from the Birmingham Christmas tree lighting ceremony

City of Birmingham
Birmingham’s 2017 Christmas tree at Linn Park in front of City Hall

Continuing a tradition that started in the late 1940s, Birmingham held its annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony last night. At around 5:30pm, the mayor pulled the switch that unveiled a beautiful sparkling  35 foot tree  at Linn Park in front of several hundred people, including the city council and most importantly Santa Claus.

Below is the countdown and the lighting.

Here is a short video of the tree “twinkling” with city hall in the background.

According to Bhamwiki, the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce began sponsoring a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in 1948  with Santa Claus making an annual appearance on the Friday after Thanksgiving Day to hand out stockings filled with candy while choirs sang carols.

Christmas Tree
Santa Claus greeted children at the Birmingham Christmas Tree lighting ceremony, photo by Pat Byington, Bham Now

By 1950 newspaper coverage of the ceremony referenced a 35 foot tall living Cedar “permanently” planted at the park. In the following years, the reported height of the tree ranged between 30 and 35 feet.

Throughout the years, the history of Birmingham’s Christmas trees and lighting ceremonies have varied from parades with floats in the late 50s and 60s to a suspension of the lighting ceremony between 1975 to 1978.

This year’s tree and ceremony was moved from the front of Linn Park on the south side of the park to the front of city hall.

Mayor Woodfin gave a 5 minute speech and then along with the city council on stage handed out the poinsettias to the crowd that were decorating the stage.

Mayor Randall Woodfin addresses the audience at the 2017 Birmingham Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

A child-friendly event, before the tree lighting  there were games for children, Santa Claus was hard at work and the mascot “SYD” from the Mayor’s Office of Youth Services was greeting the crowd.

FullSizeRender 178 Sights and scenes from the Birmingham Christmas tree lighting ceremony
Mascot for the city’s Youth Services program, photo by Pat Byington

For seven decades, the Birmingham Christmas tree lighting ceremony continues to bring joy to the Magic City.

Pat Byington
Pat Byington

Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.

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