Colonial Williamsburg’s tree lighting ceremony returns for 57th year

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Mayor Paul Freiling will then lead participants in a countdown to the lighting of a 35-foot evergreen in Market Square. (Courtesy Colonial Williamsburg)
Mayor Paul Freiling will lead participants in a countdown to the lighting of a 35-foot evergreen in Market Square Saturday. (Courtesy Colonial Williamsburg)

A classic holiday tradition in Williamsburg will return for its 57th year Saturday as the Revolutionary City plays host to its annual Christmas Eve tree lighting ceremony on Market Square.

According to a news release, Colonial Williamsburg and the Kiwanis Club have co-sponsored the community event since 1959.

The evening will kick off at 5 p.m. near the Courthouse on Duke of Gloucester Street, where Kiwanis Club members and volunteers will distribute programs and candles. Guests will be welcomed with a performance by the Colonial Williamsburg Fifes and Drums, culminating in a cannon volley in the 18th-century American holiday tradition, the release stated.

Colonial Williamsburg’s Manager of Program Development Stephen Seals will read Clement Clarke Moore’s poem, “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” commonly known as “’Twas the Night before Christmas.”

The crowd will then be led in carols, at which time participants will light their candles by passing a flame from one to another until “a sea of light” fills Duke of Gloucester Street, the release stated.

Mayor Paul Freiling will then lead participants in a countdown to the lighting of a 35-foot evergreen in Market Square — and a surprise special guest is expected to make an appearance.

No tickets or reservations are required.