Holiday Tree Lighting
Each year a tree lighting ceremony in front of the Community Center kicks off the Festival of Lights, Greenbelt’s celebration of the holiday season. The Greenbelt Concert Band performs and Santa arrives on Greenbelt Fire Department’s antique pumper.
Chris Cherry of the Greenbelt Recreation Department is tonight’s master of ceremonies.
The Greenbelt Concert Band performs traditional holiday music.
Lenore Thomas’s characters wear Santa hats.
Thomas Cherrix conducts the Greenbelt Concert Band Brass Choir.
Normally the entire City Council attends the tree lighting ceremony but this year six of seven councilmembers are at a conference in Boston. Here Councilmember Rodney Roberts welcomes everyone to the tree lighting on behalf of the council and reads an article from the December 29, 1937 issue of the Greenbelt Cooperator. Some three hundred children gathered at the school auditorium to “herald the arrival of that grand old man from the north pole” and “each child was presented with a box of candy and an orange.”
Cookies and hot chocolate are available to festival goers.
Two elves (Kaila Maguire and Sarah Layton) pose with a visitor.
Lois Rosado of the Greenbelt 75th Anniversary Committee reads a letter from an 11-year-old boy to Mrs. Roosevelt in 1937. He lived in St. Paul, Minnesota and his mother had no winter coats. Rosado reminds people about giving this holiday season, and she mentions the Greenbelt Co-op’s Food For All Campaign and the Aquatic and Fitness Center’s Toys for Tots Drive.
Greenbelt’s antique Ford Howe pumper arrives.
Santa walks to the stage with two elves (Kaila Maguire and Sarah Layton).
Some of those in attendance are from a Chinese delegation visiting the University of Maryland. They tell me that they are here to experience an American tradition. (Later they would also visit the Greenbelt Museum.)
Santa leads the countdown.
Santa presses a button to light the holiday tree.
Santa and two elves distribute candy canes.
Little Miss Greenbelt Ashley Wickline, Junior Miss Greenbelt Caroline Casey, and Miss Greenbelt Veronica Handunge
Santa poses for pictures with children.
Some children find Santa a little intimidating…
By the holiday tree, children take photos on the Greenbelt 75th anniversary float.
A child hangs a decoration on Greenbelt’s holiday tree.
The tree is between the Community Center and the Municipal Building.
Traditionally, the Greenbelt Museum hosts a holiday open house after the tree lighting ceremony. Here are museum curator Megan Searing Young (left), David and Sandra Lange. Sandra Lange chaired the Greenbelt 50th Anniversary Committee in 1987 which established the Greenbelt Museum.
A snowman greets visitors.
Holiday lights on the azalea bush in front of the museum
In the living room, on the couch are period toys and under the tree, the train is from Greenbelt pioneer Lee Shields. Note the menorah on the cabinet.
A special exhibit of toys from the collection of the late Martha Yoho is loaned to the museum by her daughter Karen Yoho. These games and toys are from the 1930s to 1950s.
In the second-floor bedroom, Lauren Silberman stands next to vintage Christmas cards from the collection of museum curator Megan Searing Young.
The small bedroom on the second floor is set up as a nursery.
Holiday themed towels in the bathroom
A holiday table setting on the dining table
Elaine and John Henry Jones look at the cocktail set.
John Henry Jones flips through a booklet titled “Fine Cocktails Made Easy.”
The snowman outside the gift shop
The holiday tree lighting takes place on the Friday night before the first weekend in December. It is followed by a two-day art and craft fair and a visit to the Youth Center by Santa on the following Saturday.