Presidio of San Francisco (December 3, 2008) - A decades-old Presidio tradition continues this Friday, December 5, when the public comes to the Presidio for Holiday Lights, the annual tree-lighting ceremony. The festivities begin along San Francisco's oldest streetscape - historic Funston Avenue - at 5:30 pm. Gather across from the Presidio Fire Station at the intersection of Lincoln Boulevard and Funston Avenue on the Main Post.
"It's a time of celebration and reflection. It's a chance for the community to come together and share their wishes for the New Year," says the Presidio Trust's Lisa Hillstrom, who organizes the event each year. "What began as an Army tradition more than 50 years ago has evolved into an event that welcomes the entire community. It has tremendous appeal to kids and grownups alike."
Unlike many tree-lighting ceremonies, where people simply watch the tree light up, the Presidio's is an interactive ceremony. Everyone in attendance will have a chance to "light the tree."
"We all join hands in a large circle," explains Hilstrom. "The 'electricity' is passed around the circle by everyone squeezing the hand of the person next to them. When the circle is completed the tree magically lights up."
San Francisco photographer Charity Vargas, who is currently working on a book about the Presidio, will capture the moment in a time-lapse photograph.
Following the tree-lighting, cookies and cider will be served at the Presidio Fire Station. Music will be provided by the San Francisco Conservatory of Carolers.
The Presidio's tree-lighting ceremony takes place Friday, December 5 from 5:30 to 6:30 pm. Meet at the corner of Lincoln Boulevard and Funston Avenue on the Main Post (across the street from the Presidio Fire Station and the YMCA). The event is free and no reservation is required. For more information call the Presidio Events Line at (415) 561-5500.
The Presidio Trust was established by the United States Congress in 1996 to manage the Presidio of San Francisco, a former Army base located at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge. The 1,500-acre site contains the infrastructure of a small community as well as expansive open space, a 300-acre historic forest, spectacular views, and rare and endangered plants and wildlife. It comprises nearly 6 million square feet of buildings, including 469 historic structures that contribute to its status as a National Historic Landmark District, making it unlike any other national park."