Colonial Williamsburg’s 59th-annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony is back again this year, and for the second time, it will not be on Christmas Eve.
On Monday, Colonial Williamsburg announced the tree lighting ceremony will be at 5 p.m. Dec. 20 in Market Square.
The event is free and open to the public.
Last year, the tree lighting ceremony was also held a few days before Christmas, on winter solstice Dec. 21.
The change was made based on community feedback from previous years, a Colonial Williamsburg spokeswoman said last year. A Christmas Eve ceremony conflicted with plans of both guests and ceremony volunteers, meaning some people had to choose between their other plans and attending the ceremony.
This year, the event, co-hosted by the Kiwanis Club of Williamsburg since 1959, will feature a 40-foot spruce tree, nearly 7,500 lights, holiday stories, songs and candles, according to a news release from Colonial Williamsburg.
Father Christmas will also make an appearance, as well as Mayor Paul Freiling and the Colonial Williamsburg Fifes and Drums will help close the ceremony.
The tree will be lit nightly through Jan. 6. Colonial Williamsburg’s Christmas guns will also be fired on Market Square at 5 p.m. Christmas Eve.
“This special holiday kick-off is a cherished event for our community,” said Missy Zimmerman, president of the Kiwanis Club of Williamsburg. “We are excited to partner with the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation again and fulfill Kiwanis’ mission to make the world brighter one community at a time.”