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Lake City preparing for tree-lighting ceremony

Photo by Heather Middleton

Photo by Heather Middleton

By Curt Yeomans

cyeomans@news-daily.com

Approximately 10,000 Christmas lights will be on the front lawn of the Lake City Municipal Hall, and on the building itself, by the end of this week.

The city's public works department spent last week putting together a Christmas display on the municipal hall's front lawn that includes elves, reindeer, Santa Clauses and Christmas trees. They will be putting up mechanical elves and a giant wreath on the property this week, as weather permits.

It is all in preparation for the city's lighting ceremony for the centerpiece of its Christmas display -- a 58-foot Christmas tree that alone has 2,300 lights on it, according to officials from the Lake City Public Works department.

The ceremony will be held on Nov. 21, beginning at 6 p.m., at the Lake City Municipal Hall, which is located at 5455 Jonesboro Road. This is the sixth year the city has created a Christmas display, said Lake City Public Works Director Eddie Robinson.

"It's kind of like a winter wonderland-type feel that we go for out here," Robinson said. "The mayor and the [City] Council decided they wanted to do something to bring the community together. They are big on Christmas, and on families coming together, so that is how this came to be."

Each year, the ceremony marks the first time during the holiday season that the lights in the display are officially turned on. The program usually attracts a crowd of 200 to 300 people, who stand in the municipal hall's parking lot, said Andy Aster, a craftsman for the Lake City Public Works department. "You wouldn't think that many people can fit in that little area, but they do," he said.

Robinson said this year's program will feature musical performances by the Lake City Elementary School Choir, and by Aster. The public works director also said children will be able to have their photos taken with Santa Claus, and hand their Christmas lists off to jolly, Old St. Nick at that time. City employees will also be serving hot chocolate, Robinson said.

Meanwhile, Robinson will be inside the hollow, 58-foot tree, trying to coordinate the lighting of the display with what Lake City Mayor Willie Oswalt is saying to the crowd from a stage.

"The mayor will flip a giant switch, which is a fake switch, and then I'm in the tree [with the real switch] and I light everything up," Robinson said.