Tree lighting set for Dec. 7

Published 3:37 pm Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Christmas lights have started to dazzle the streets of Greenville, but the crowning moment will be at the Tree Lighting Ceremony.

On Dec. 7 at 6 p.m., the City of Greenville, the Greenville Chamber of Commerce and the Butler County Ministerial Association will be working together to bring music, readers and the lighting of the tree in Confederate Park.

“We have hand bells from First Baptist Church, Antioch East Baptist Church kids do some bells as well, a drama by McKenzie Baptist Church,” Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce Francine Wasden said.

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A singer from Georgiana First Baptist Church, choirs, individuals and trios will be there along with several readers coming to tell the Christmas story.

“We have all sorts of different talents that will come together,” Wasden said. “At the end, we’re going to sing silent night to candle light so it should be really good. We’re going to have a live nativity scene by the First United Methodist Church.”

As president of the Butler County Ministerial Association, Allen Stephenson asked for churches to schedule Wednesday night services around the ceremony.

“The Ministerial Association asked our churches to schedule their normal Wednesday service to this event so we could hold a county wide joint Christmas tree lighting ceremony so we have an opportunity to tell the story of Christ,” Stephenson said. “The Ministerial Association overwhelming decided to be a part of it so that at we could separate that part of Christmas from the Christmas parade since that’s more about Santa. The tree lighting will be more about the story of the birth of Jesus.”

The tree lighting ceremony will be about an hour and half with Greenville Parks and Recreation offering hot chocolate and food. The streets will be blocked from the corner of Pine Street (Bank Trust) to the corner of Fort Dale Street (Greenville Post Office) beginning at 5 p.m.

As for the next evening, the city will also be hosting the Christmas Parade. At 6:30 p.m., floats, bands and Santa will be traveling from Bolling Street by the Chamber of Commerce down past the courthouse.

“There will be the Greenville high school band and cheerleaders,” Wasden said. “We’ve got a lot of different floats and the parade theme is Candy Land Christmas.”

The deadline to sign up for the parade is Monday, Dec. 5. The streets will be cleared around 5 p.m. and the Chamber of Commerce has asked that no political solicitation be on the floats through the parade.

“It’s such a wonderful community event and everyone needs to come out and bring their kids,” Wasden said. “The mayor is going to be lighting the tree, and I think the Christmas tree is going to be larger than last year. The city has gone overboard in finding the perfect tree. It’s two nights combined that will be two nights to remember.”

Georgiana will have its tree lighting ceremony on Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. in Watson Park and its Christmas Parade on Dec. 10 at 2 p.m.

McKenzie will be having its Christmas Parade Dec. 10 at 10 a.m. in Downtown McKenzie.