Community residents gathered Thursday night in Ludowici for Long County’s annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony.
The event began at 7 p.m. when Long County Chamber of Commerce President Kerry Hunt welcomed everyone. Chamber member Kent Hall flipped the switch that turned the tree lights on, illuminating the Ludowici’s Old Well Pavilion.
As the tree glowed, Hall flipped a second switch and pointed to a nativity scene. “If you look over there, you’ll see what Christmas is really all about,” he said.
Hunt quoted a verse from the Bible, John 3:16, “Jesus gave his life for all of us ... all we have to do is believe in Him, and he is that bridge for us, from here to heaven,” he read.
The Rev. Curtis Thomas, who is the pastor at Friendship Baptist Church, gave an invocation and members from his church led the crowd of more than 100 people in Christmas carols.
As the group sang, children sat in Santa’s lap and told him want they want for Christmas. Mrs. Claus gave each child a treat.
In addition to the music and festivities, attendees enjoyed free cookies, cupcakes, candy and hot chocolate.
Event organizer Karen Waters said, “Tonight turned out to be cold and it really seems like the Christmas season now. I am so pleased with the turnout we have tonight and I thank everyone who helped put this together.”
The Long County Chamber of Commerce coordinated the event, Waters said, but many other groups, businesses and people helped out. She said the sponsors for the night were the Altamaha Federal Credit Union, the Ludowici Bank, The Heritage Bank, County Line Barn, the Long County Wildlife Festival, the Ludowici Garden Club and Wes and Beverly Johnson, who provided the Christmas tree.