Beginning the holiday season with Tree Lighting Ceremony
By Airman 1st Class Zachary Chapman, 17th Training Wing Public Affairs
/ Published December 05, 2018
GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --
While it may not have felt like Christmas, being 50 degrees, the Tree Lighting Ceremony marked the beginning of the holiday season. Goodfellow has been celebrating the Tree Lighting Ceremony for more than 30 years, this year taking place at the parade field, along with other festivities, Dec. 4.
Students joined participants with base access to run the Jingle Bell 5K, which took place at 5 p.m. The run brought out more than 800 individuals, some runners even wore holiday themed outfits.
“We have been doing the Jingle Bell run for about 10 years now and every year we do something a little bit different, last year the runners got santa hats and this year they received jingle bells,” said 17th Force Support Squadron Fitness Center Special Events Coordinator Viviana Widick. “Usually the squadrons will use this as their physical training as a way to raise morale. This is one of our more popular runs, we have a lot of people dress up with their best Christmas outfits.”
After the run, Olaf and Kristoff, from the Disney movie “Frozen” and the Grinch were in attendance for the children to meet and take pictures with. All making way for the main event at 6 p.m. when Santa arrived. Team Goodfellow let Santa Clause catch a ride to the event via firetruck, giving the reindeers the night off.
“This was for the family and kids,” said 17th FSS Community Services Deputy Flight Chief Floyd Carmona. “We wanted to start off the holiday season and bring the spirits into the holidays and Christmas. Judging by all of the smiles and the children dancing I’d say that we did that.”
Children had the chance to decorate cookies as well as make ornaments for the tree. Throughout the night, children could write and send letters to Santa with the mailbox provided. Once Santa arrived, the guests had the opportunity to sit with him and share what they wanted for Christmas.
Once the sun had set, Col. Robert Ramirez, 17th Training Wing vice commander, announced that 17th FSS had won the Holiday Card competition, large cards displayed near the Jacobson Gate. Ramirez pressed the button to light the tree, bringing an end to the ceremony but not the celebration.
“For me the event is our opportunity to kick off the holiday season, this is the time of season that we come together and celebrate,” said Ramirez. “We do that with lights, hot chocolate and festivities. The kids love Santa coming out here, so it is just a great opportunity as a community and a family to come out and celebrate.”