Christmas in the Park to kick off Howard County's holiday season

Kate Magill
Contact ReporterHoward County Times

Howard County’s annual tree lighting ceremony is back on Tuesday with a night of holiday cheer and hot chocolate in Centennial Park South.

Hundreds are expected to attend the popular event, now in its third year.

Beginning at 6 p.m., families can enjoy refreshments and get a photo with Santa, as well as holiday character including Buddy the Elf, “Frozen’s” Olaf and the Grinch. The night will culminate with the lighting of the county’s Christmas tree at 7 p.m.

Howard County’s Recreational Licensed Childcare Choir will sing at the event, which will also include remarks from County Executive Allan Kittleman, who will lead the tree lighting.

This year’s tree was saved from being chopped down in front of the Howard County Welcome Center in historic Ellicott City, according to Anna Hunter, a spokeswoman for the Department of Recreation and Parks. Officials had been planning to remove the tree, and when Howard County Recreation and Parks employee Tim Overstreet learned of this, he suggested it replace a dying tree near the Centennial Park pavilion.

The live Norway spruce, standing at approximately 20 feet tall, will remain in the park after the holiday season, Hunter said.

With the possibility of rain in the forecast for Tuesday night, the rain date for Christmas in the Park will be Wednesday, Dec. 6. Officials will announce by 4 p.m. on Tuesday if the event has been postponed until Thursday, according to Hunter.

Tuesday’s event at Centennial Park is one of several holiday events taking place this week throughout the county. On Monday night, the annual Symphony of Lights at Merriweather Pavilion will host its “Twinkling Tots” night for families to bring their littlest holiday enthusiasts to walk through the festive light displays.

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