Presidio of San Francisco (November 30, 2010) -- A decades old Presidio tradition continues on Friday, December 3 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 5:30pm. 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 sweet and simple way to kick off the holiday season."
Unlike many tree-lighting ceremonies, where people simply watch the tree light up, the Presidio's is an interactive ceremony where everyone in attendance 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 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 itself 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 grown from a seed in a nursery and planted as a sapling a half-century ago.
Following the tree-lighting, light refreshments will be served at the YMCA. Music provided by the San Francisco Conservatory of Music carolers will add to the cheer.
Before the ceremony, stop by and meet the firefighters at an open house at the Presidio Fire Station from 3-5pm. The fire station is located at the corner of Lincoln Boulevard and Halleck Street on the Main Post. Hot cider will be served and the public is invited to drop off a new, unwrapped toy for donation to the San Francisco Fire Fighters Toy Program.
The Presidio's tree-lighting ceremony takes place Friday, December 3 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 Public Affairs Line at (415) 561-5418.
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 National Park Service oversees the coastal areas of the Presidio. 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. The Presidio is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area."