When Will They Light the Brandon Christmas Tree at Center Place?
It's time to deck the halls and light community Christmas trees, with the grand event for the Greater Brandon area set to the Center Place Fine Arts & Civic Association. The tree at Winthrop will be lit five days earlier.
Brandon kicks off the holiday season in a grand way — and with tradition — as the town comes together for the annual lighting of the community Christmas tree, this year on Wednesday, Dec. 5.
The annual event has grown in stature, if not in numbers, as the event continues to take place in the Mook Gallery room of the Center Place Fine Arts & Civic Association in Brandon.
Seating is limited but that doesn’t matter as the room fills to capacity with young kids sitting on the floor up front and adults and older kids lining up alongside and behind the seated audience.
As for the actual lighting of the tree, that takes place outside, as attendees glance out to the tree situated in the lake to the east of Center Place, in the lake visible from Parsons Avenue, just south of Brandon Regional Hospital and north of Clayton Park, the little league fields and All Persons Playground.
Hundreds of townsfolk attend the annual event, which last year was billed as both the 27th and 28th annual event, which if you’ve followed Brandon news for any length of time, you know is not a rare thing to be off a year or two.
Even the annual parade has people guessing, one year or the other, but, like we said, that’s Brandon.
Matters little when what matters most is the sense of community that shines forth at the annual Christmas tree event, as the night among friends sheds a spotlight as well on various groups and organizations that bring quality to the life of locals.
The event this year kicks off Dec. 5 at 7 p.m. at Center Place, which shares space with the Brandon Regional Library in the Sandy Rodriguez Center, at 619 Vonderburg Drive in Brandon.
The evening concludes with the lighting of the Christmas tree, with Santa Claus himself pulling the switch.
The tree is outfitted in advance with the electrical talents and generosity of Cox Electric, which throughout the year service’s the needs of Center Place as well, one of Brandon’s older and more cherished non-profits, focused on providing a civic gathering place and brining arts education, exhibits and productions to the community and its children.
The night’s events are sponsored as well by the Roundtable Charities of Brandon, more commonly known as the Community Roundtable and previously known as the Presidents Roundtable.
The group was founded more than 50 years ago to serve as an umbrella organization for area non-profits, and recently expanded its base to include anyone with an interest in town affairs, including business people and citizens with no group affiliations.
The Roundtable meets the second Wednesday of the month at Center Place and is best known for organizing and running the annual Greater Brandon Fourth of July Parade.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE TREE LIGHTING EVENT
- The program is scheduled to begin with a Boy Scouts colorguard.
- Scheduled to perform is youth talent from Brandon Ballet, Kim Hall’s School of Dance, Leonard’s Academy of Dance, Music Showcase, Tampa Bay Family Theater, the Spotlights from Brandon Academy and the Ambassadors show choir from Bloomingdale High.
- The Ambassadors rendition of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” has become over the years a much-awaited — and remembered — seasonal treat.
- Started by music teacher Bev Sutherland, the event features students in costumes of their own design representing their unique interpretations of the characters portrayed with each day leading up to Christmas.
- Santa has agreed to stay as long as he needs to for children and their folks to snap their own holiday photos.
- As for the cost, don’t mention it. The annual event is a gift from the community to the community and there is no charge.
For information, call Center Place at 813-685-8888.