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