WILLIAMSBURG — It was a joyful Thursday night as the community gathered in front of the Courthouse steps in Colonial Williamsburg (CW) for its annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony.
It was the first in-person Christmas Tree Lighting since 2019, and community members and spectators sang, lit candles and celebrated the season with the holiday tradition.
The 2020 event was virtual due to COVID-19. This year, Mayor Doug Pons reflected on how the pandemic has impacted the community.
“While Colonial Williamsburg did a wonderful job last year hosting this event virtually, it’s just not the same as being here together where we can share one another’s happiness and joy for the holiday season,” Mayor Pons said. “The last two years have taught us many things. It taught us the importance of connecting to one another. We may have differences among us, but we all are one community, united in countless ways.”
An interpreter playing Dr. Charles Frederick Ernest Minnigerode addressed the crowd, telling the story of how the European refugee and William and Mary professor introduced the Christmas tree to Williamsburg in 1842.
The event featured performances from CW’s Fifes and Drums, and the singing of Christmas carols, including “O Christmas Tree” and “Jingle Bells”.
While most years, CW interpreter Stephen Seals gives a special reading of the classic poem, “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” members of the Williamsburg community virtually read the poem for viewers last year. This year, CW carried on the new tradition, which ended with an appearance from St. Nicholas himself.
Attendees then watched as the 40-foot spruce tree lit up with 7,500 lights.
The event, which has been a tradition in CW since 1915, was co-sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Williamsburg.