“10, 9, 8, 7…”
Boston residents and tourists gathered around a stage stuffed with costumed reindeer, Santa Clauses and children choirs Wednesday night. The crowd waited in the dark as a man counted down from 10. On one, blue lights beamed, illuminating their surroundings in ringlet arches leading across Christopher Columbus Park.
Boston Mayor Martin Walsh was joined by Boston’s Parks and Recreation Department and the Friends of Christopher Columbus Park, a nonprofit that works to preserve and enhance the park, in illuminating 260 feet of trellis with 50,000 blue lights for the annual holiday display.
Approximately 1,000 visitors attended the lighting ceremony, enjoying eggnog and hot chocolate provided by the City while listening to children’s choirs singing Christmas carols.
Parks and Recreation Commissioner Ryan Woods wrote in an email that this year marks the 17th anniversary of the event. The lighting occurs the Monday before Thanksgiving every year, and the park remains lit until April 1.
“The Friends came up with it as a festive way to celebrate the holidays in the park,” Woods wrote. “Something that would stand out and is different than a tree.”
Aside from the holiday season, the trellis is a hot spot for activity year-round. The location has been named one of the “Ten Most Romantic Places in Boston” and is a common spot for displays of affection and marriage proposals, according to the Friends of Christopher Columbus Park website.
Liz Sullivan, director of external affairs and marketing at the Parks and Recreation Department, said the lighting ceremony seeks to bring Boston residents together as well as welcome tourists during the holiday season.
“We are always looking for events that activate our public spaces,” Sullivan said. “We like this one in particular because it is very inclusive. The lights are blue and it is not a tree it is a trellis.”
Lizzie Moore, a 23-year-old North End resident, said she enjoys the holiday spirit that the trellis lighting provides.
“I just love how festive [the lighting ceremony] is,” Moore said. “I am a big hot chocolate fan, not going to lie, but I am new to Boston and so it is nice to go and see the city.”
Pam Wolfe, 61, of East Falmouth said the lighting of the trellis is a nice event for families.
“All of the family and the kids get here to see the trellis lighting,” Wolfe said. “Everybody is singing Christmas carols and there is a Santa Claus. It really is just a nice get-together for the whole family.”
Logan Long, 26, is an Arkansas resident who said he wandered into the event after coming to Boston on honeymoon with his wife.
“We kind of got a big sense of community here,” Long said. “There are a lot of people out here and a lot of representatives. It is a good place to be.”