Blythewood holds annual magnolia tree lighting to kick off holiday season

A crowd gathered around the magnolia tree as the lighting took place. Jeanne Reynolds photos.

The Town of Blythewood flipped the switch on the holiday season with a lighting ceremony for the official town Christmas tree Sunday evening.

Hundreds of area residents thronged the circle in front of town hall in Doko Meadow Park to listen to music by choirs from Macedonia Baptist Church and Trinity United Methodist Church, students from Don Russo’s Freeway Music school and local vocalists Jeannie and Vance Sharpe. The crowd also enjoyed free hot chocolate, cider and cookies provided by Blythewood’s Rotary Club, Chamber of Commerce and Optimists Club.

As part of the event, Mayor Mike Ross presented a $1,000 donation from the town to Trinity’s newly opened Stone House Ministries, a mental health and counseling center. The center’s Dr. Don Hillyard accepted the donation as well as the remote control to turn on the lights on a massive magnolia tree next to town hall

The largest cheer of the evening may have gone up several minutes later, however, when Santa Claus made his first appearance of the season on the steps of the town hall.

In addition to using a magnolia rather than the more customary spruce or fir as its official tree, Blythewood’s holiday tradition features another unusual twist: double Christmas trees. A second tree sits across the street near the corner of Langford Road and Highway 21. It also was lighted for the first time this holiday season Sunday evening.

Categories: Blythewood, Business, Richland County