AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)- Hundreds came out to celebrate a kick-off of the holiday season at the 25th annual Christmas Tree Lighting at Augusta University’s Summerville Campus. But this year featured a very noticeable difference: the tree of years past has died. A new man-made “Tree of Lights” has replaced it for the time being.
“I was very disappointed to see that our tree didn’t make the windstorm a few months ago, but I think the tree that we have is great too,” said the student body president Raysean Ricks.
Christmas spirits were still high.
“It’s just a fantastic time to sort of kick off the holiday season but also a great opportunity to celebrate the community that we’re in,” said AU President Dr. Brooks Keel.
Hundreds came out to see Santa and enjoy the caroling, cocoa and crafts.
Members of the community also gathered for the tree lighting, even though different than years past.
“Our facilities folks came up with the tree of lights you see behind me, and they just did a marvelous job putting that together and they’re very very proud of it. And so are we,” Dr. Keel said.
Perhaps the new tree will kick off a new AU tradition.
“I like it,” said freshman Lauren Sill. “So I’m really happy that it’s kind of tall and it has lots of different colors on it. So it’s pretty cool.”
A new tree has been planted along the History Walk to replace the old one, but it will be several years before it’s mature enough to bear the weight of Christmas lights.