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Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony in Colonial Williamsburg

Christmas Eve in Williamsburg, Virginia the Fife and Drum Corps marches down the Duke of Gloucester, costumed interpreters fire Christmas guns, and the crowd gathers at the Courthouse steps. Men and women, boys and girls, take what warmth they can from the fatwood burning in the cressets, their candles lit, listening to the mayor’s speech, bowing for a prayer, singing carols, and waiting for the moment when the switch is thrown, and the old evergreen across the street twinkles again alight.
Today, Williamsburg’s annual community Christmas tree packs four centuries of holiday traditions into one sparkling Christmas present.

Christmas Tree Join in as more than 2,000 guests gather at the steps of the Courthouse on the Duke of Gloucester Street in the Historic Area at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 24.  Colonial Williamsburg and the Kiwanis Club of Williamsburg have cosponsored the lighting of a Christmas tree on Market Square since 1959.   The City of Williamsburg first hosted this ceremony in 1915 on Palace Green.

The program will start with the reading of “The Night Before Christmas” by Robb Warren.  Colonial Williamsburg interpreter Philip Shultz serves as master of ceremonies and interpreter Karen Schlicht will lead the singing of a variety of carols.  Rev. Mark Morrow, chaplain of the Kiwanis Club of Williamsburg, will give the invocation and the benediction.

Williamsburg Kiwanis members will hand out individual candles to the attendees prior to Vice Mayor Clyde Haulman’s signal to light the 35 foot live evergreen tree.

WHERE: In front of the Colonial Courthouse steps, Duke of Gloucester Street, Colonial Williamsburg Historic Area

WHEN: Tonight 5:30 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 24, 2009

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