FAIRHOPE – While some aspects of the celebration were different this year, the crowd still gathered at the intersection of Fairhope Avenue and Section Street and counted down to await the Lighting of the Trees and the start of the holiday season in Fairhope.
Christmas music played and, as the crowd reached “zero,” the lights came on down the streets and artificial snow sprayed from blowers overhead.
This year, the city did not put up a stage for band and choral performances. As a precaution against COVID-19, participants had been urged to spread through downtown Fairhope to mark the annual event.
Mayor Sherry Sullivan said the event is a reminder that even with coronavirus and storms, residents still have much for which to be thankful.
“It has been a challenging year for many reasons, but we have so much to be thankful for,” Sullivan said. “We are blessed to live in a community where people genuinely kind and want to help their neighbors. This has been displayed time and time again as we have dealt with the pandemic and hurricanes Sally and Zeta. So, at this time of thanksgiving, I hope we remember to be thankful for our health, our family and friends and the freedoms we enjoy.”
She said she was pleased that the annual tradition could continue.
“The tree lighting has become a favorite for many residents and visitors,” Sullivan said. “It is the beginning of the holiday season in Fairhope.”
While some activities were canceled, others continued, even if some changes had to be made. Children met with Mrs. Claus to give her their Christmas wishes. The smiling woman in a red suit was behind a Plexiglass screen, however, this year.
Aubrey Conant of Fairhope waited in line with her husband and two children to see Mrs. Claus. She said this was their first Lighting of the Trees.
“We just moved here a couple of months ago from Washington state,” she said. “This is very nice. We came from a town that was a similar size and they didn’t do anything like this and they’re really enjoying it.”