Presidio of San Francisco (November 30, 2009) -- A decades old Presidio tradition continues this Friday, December 4, when the public is invited 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 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 kickoff the holiday season and it's free."
Unlike many tree-lighting ceremonies, where people simply watch the tree light up, the Presidio's is an interactive ceremony where everyone can help "light the tree." Participants join hands in a large circle and the "electricity" is passed around the circle by everyone squeezing the hand of the person next to them. When the circle is complete the tree magically lights up!
"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."
The tree is a 55 foot tall Norfolk Island pine, a tree that grows naturally in only one place on Earth€”Norfolk Island, off the eastern coast of Australia. This particular tree was planted as a sapling a half-century ago.
Following the tree-lighting, cookies and cider will be served in the YMCA Gymnasium. Music provided by the San Francisco Conservatory Carolers will add to the cheer.
The Presidio's tree-lighting ceremony takes place Friday, December 4 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 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 administer the Presidio of San Francisco, an urban national park 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 469 historic structures that contribute to the Presidio's status as a National Historic Landmark District."