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Palm Coast Lights Up Its First Communal Christmas Tree to Strings of Jazz and Joy

| December 1, 2011

The Jazz singer Linda Cole, caroling in the foreground, as Santa holds court with innumerable children right after the inaugural Christmas tree-lighting ceremony in Palm Coast

It was an alternately jazzy, merry, chilly and jingly evening in Town Center Thursday as Palm Coast had its inaugural tree-lighting ceremony in a huddle of perhaps a couple of hundred people around an upstart of a cedar that almost upstaged Santa.

The tree, a young but stately Southern Redcedar, went up in Town Center almost a year ago, on a gray, drizzly January day warmed by the Palm Coast Garden Club’s generosity (the cedar was its gift to the city) and promises of ever-greener years ahead. Those dedicating the tree had made a point of also reminding the small crowd attending the tree-planting ceremony that the cedar would soon be one of the centerpieces of the city’s Christmas. It would be its official Christmas tree.

And so it was.

A quartet of the Flagler Youth Orchestra, in a dusk accompaniment before the tree-lighting ceremony. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

The redcedar, 18 feet high when planted in January, may have gained a few whisks of height since, but on Thursday evening, despite its youth, it towered and twinkled the moment Santa–who’d just arrived on a sleigh of bells and whistles of his own: a fire truck–lit it to cheers and applause. The technicolor Christmas lights, hugging the tree and Central Park’s entire lake–the Rotary Club’s annual Christmas Fantasy Lights displays ringing the lake has grown to 37 this year, including the 12 days of Christmas–probably warmed the air more than a fraction of a degree.

Moments earlier, Mayor Jon Netts had warmed the air even more with his words in a brief welcome to the crowd, before the tree-lighting.

“I bet at least one of the following stirs memories in your heart, Netts said. “Going to bed early on Christmas eve, and hoping Santa finds his way to your house. Hugging relatives that you rarely see during the year and you get to greet them at holiday time. Watching ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ on TV and crying when Zuzu hugs her daddy. Fighting over the turkey wishbone with your cousin–or your wife, in our household. Setting up the holiday’s family tree with your favorite lights and ornaments. Well, as of December 1st, 2011, you can add a new holiday tradition to your calendar: the city of Palm Coast tree-lighting ceremony begins tonight, celebrating our great spirit that abides in each one of us. Always remember that you were here tonight, inaugurating a special event that unites us all in an atmosphere of harmony and good will.”

Santa arrives. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

A quartet of the Flagler Youth Orchestra played a few holiday tunes as dusk enveloped the growing crowd before the ceremony. Linda Cole, the jazz singer, sang for an hour after the ceremony as a long line formed in front of Santa who, on his throne, listened to innumerable assurances from children that they’d been good all year, and that, if perhaps not in so many words, it was time to pay up. Several politicians–county commissioners, city council members, one school board member (there by marital rather than political obligation), a future supervisor of elections and an eternal clerk of court–milled about, exchanging holiday greetings and comparing Christmas bonnets. At one point Gail Wadsworth, the clerk of court, stood before the young redcedar, as if to seize it up, observed it quite a while, and said what only she could say, because only she could know it: “There are 13 kinds of cedar trees in Flagler County, and I only know one person who can name them all.” That would be Cousin Lew.

It was, literally and figuratively, a stellar, heartwarming evening. “May tonight be the first of many evenings that bring us together in a spirit of peace, and,” Netts had concluded, borrowing from Barbara Streisand in Yentl, “may the flickering holiday lights illuminate the night the way the holiday spirit illuminates our souls.”

'You can add a new holiday tradition to your calendar,' Palm Coast Mayor Jon Netts said of Palm Coast's new tree-lighting ceremony in Central Park. (© FlaglerLive)

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8 Responses for “Palm Coast Lights Up Its First Communal Christmas Tree to Strings of Jazz and Joy”

  1. tulip says:

    What a wonderful new tradition and may the tree grow taller and the crowd grow larger with each passing year.

  2. Anonymous says:

    It would be its official Christmas tree.

    What the hell s that it is a HOLIDAY tree since does chirstmass have a thing to do with it :)

  3. Begonia says:

    I’m with Tulip. And it’s a Christmas Tree! Hooooray!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. I’m so glad that Palm Coast has the money for all this bull$hit. They could have put some of this towards the sidewalks in the southside of Palm Coast.

    • FlaglerLive says:

      Flaglernative, Palm Coast didn’t spend money on this ceremony. The tree was a donation of the Palm Coast Garden Club, the displays around the lake are bought and paid for by businesses or civic organizations and run through the Flagler County Rotary as part of a fund-raiser, and there was no admission charge.

  5. palmcoaster says:

    Thank You Flagler Live for the positive clarification to those that yet don’t know.

  6. Well, maybe one of the kids will ask Santa for what they really need “SIDEWALKS”!!!! Just think of the few dead kids that died here in Seminole Woods due to lack of bikepaths and sidewalks that would’ve loved to have been at that “FREE” ceremony. Maybe if the Flagler businesses wouldn’t have donated money to this crap maybe they could’ve donated it to a more worthy cause.

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