Presidio of San Francisco (November 30, 2011)
-- A decades old Presidio tradition continues Friday, December 2, when the public is invited to Holiday Lights
, the Presidio’s annual tree-lighting ceremony. The festivities begin along the Presidio’s oldest streetscape—historic Funston Avenue—at 5:30 pm and, for the first time, will conclude with a special lantern walk through the historic forest. Participants will gather across from the Presidio YMCA at the intersection of Lincoln Boulevard and Funston Avenue on the Main Post.
“What began as an Army tradition more than 50 years ago has evolved into an event for the whole community,” says the Presidio Trust’s Lisa Hillstrom, who organizes the event each year. “It’s a great way to kick off the holiday season.”
The tree itself is a 55-foot tall Norfolk Island pine, a tree that grows naturally in only one place—Norfolk Island, off the eastern coast of Australia. This particular tree was grown from a seed in a nursery and planted as a sapling a half-century ago.
“The kids love to run and play under the tree,” says Hillstrom. “Once it’s all lit up, with all the colors, it’s really magical.”
This year’s event features a new program—an enchanting 20-minute lantern walk through the Presidio forest.
“We’re creating new traditions that enable families to experience the park in fun and meaningful ways,” says Damien Raffa, education and volunteer program manager for the Presidio Trust. “The lantern walk combines the thrill of being outside at night with the magic of being in nature in ways that spark curiosity and imagination.”
Following the tree-lighting, light refreshments will be served at the YMCA. Music provided by the Golden Gate Carolers will add to the cheer.
Before the ceremony, stop by and meet the firefighters and climb aboard the fire engine at the Presidio Fire Station. The fire station is located at the corner of Lincoln Boulevard and Halleck Street on the Main Post.
The Presidio’s tree-lighting ceremony takes place Friday, December 2 from 5:30 to 6:30 pm. Gather at the corner of Lincoln Boulevard and Funston Avenue on the Main Post (across from the Presidio YMCA). The event is free and no reservation is required, but it is popular so come early. Limited parking is available at the Presidio YMCA and on the Main Post (meters on the Main Post are in effect until 6:00pm). For more information call the Presidio Events line at (415) 561-5500 or visit www.presidio.gov/calendar
The Presidio Trust was established by the United States Congress in 1996 to administer the Presidio of San Francisco, an urban national park site that is located at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge. The areas overseen by the Trust include expansive open space and spectacular views, a 300-acre historic forest, and rare and endangered plants and wildlife. The park comprises nearly 6 million square feet of buildings, including 433 historic structures that contribute to the Presidio's status as a National Historic Landmark District.