Annual tree-lighting keeps spirits bright
By Terry Oparka
Posted November 26, 2013
A holiday tradition in the city of Troy continues with the Troy Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at 7 p.m. Dec. 4 at Veterans Plaza, on the grounds of City Hall.
Cindy Stewart, community affairs director for the city, explained that gathering around the Christmas tree is a tradition that families look forward to each year.
“It’s a great opportunity to get into the holiday spirit,” she said.
This year’s festivities will feature caroling led by the Athens High School and Smith Middle School choirs under the direction of Michele Marszalkowski.
Hot cocoa and sweets will be served, thanks to Genisys Credit Union. Troy Mayor Dane Slater will welcome Santa as he makes his grand entrance with the Troy High Colt drum line to light the 28-foot Colorado spruce, which Scott Sexton and Tom’s Landscape donated in 2006 and is planted next to Veterans Plaza.
“Be sure to dress for the weather,” Stewart added.
For the first time this year, the Troy Kiwanis Foundation is spearheading Troy Lights of Hope with the aim to light some of the evergreens that line the center of Big Beaver, with help from the business community, at a cost to sponsors of $1,200 a tree.
Barbara Knight, Troy Kiwanis member and co-chair of Troy Lights of Hope, told the Troy City Council at the Nov. 11 meeting that the aim of the tree sponsorship part of the program was to “bring a brand-new tradition to the city of Troy that we’re really excited about.”
“This program will take on a life of its own in years to come,” Knight said to the council.
Installation of the LED lights, which will give off a soft, white glow, began in this month.
The tree-lighting program is not a charity fundraiser, but a community service project, Knight told the council.
“We are using city owned property,” she said. “Donations are tax- deductible.”
The city of Troy expedited maintenance that was scheduled along Big Beaver to upgrade existing electrical infrastructure at a cost of $11,000 in support of the project.
Also, the Kiwanis Foundation is selling the same LED lights used on the trees to businesses and organizations to light up their buildings and storefronts. Knight said that several businesses along Big Beaver have already purchased the lights.
Proceeds from the sale of the light sets, priced at $15 per set, will benefit community organizations, including the Boys & Girls Club of Troy, and scholarships for Troy graduates.
Trees along Big Beaver will be turned on at dusk the same night as the Troy Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony.
Slater said he asked Knight to make a presentation about the program at the Nov. 11 council meeting. He believed the intent of Troy Lights of Hope was to attract people and businesses to Troy restaurants and shopping venues.
“I think it’s a great idea,” he said.
For information, visit www.troylightsofhope.com.
Troy City Hall is located at 500 W. Big Beaver.
About the author
Staff Writer Terry Oparka covers Troy and the Troy School District for the Troy Times. Oparka has worked for C & G Newspapers since 2000 and attended Oakland University and Macomb Community College. Oparka has won an award from the Michigan Press Association and four awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, Detroit Chapter.
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