Fort Rucker lights up holiday season at ceremony
Santa Claus gives out candy to children and listens to their Christmas wishes at the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony last year. This year's event is scheduled for Dec. 5 from 5-6 p.m. at Howze Field.

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (November 27, 2013) -- People can grasp a little holiday spirit at the annual Fort Rucker Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony Dec. 5 at Howze Field from 5-6 p.m. where parents and children can sing, take photos and make holiday memories.

The program features performances by the 98th Army "Silver Wings" Band and choral groups, hot cocoa and visitors from the North Pole.

"This is one of my favorite events of the year because it really gets you in the holiday spirit," said Brian Jackson, Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation program manager. "It is exciting to see numerous smiling faces throughout the program."

The centerpiece of the night will be the lighting of this year's tree, which will be aided by command team staff, followed by a special dinner, he said.

"A nice element to the program this year is recognizing Month of Military Families," said Jackson. "This year the 2013 military Family of excellence, the Eblen Family, will assist command staff members in the lighting of the tree. We are very excited about this element as it shows how important Fort Rucker military Families mean to this installation along with the Army Family."

The past few years, more than 1,000 patrons have attended, according to Jackson, and each year the event grows and changes for the benefit of attendees.

"Family and MWR continues a strong effort to maintain quality recreation opportunities for our Soldiers and Families. The Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony is a free Family event open to the entire community," said Janice Erdlitz, DFMWR marketing director. "I think it's very important to maintain the low- or no-cost events to our community when possible.

"Through the very generous support of our sponsors, we're able to provide these opportunities. So a very big thanks to (our sponsors) for the support this year in making the tree lighting a very memorable event for our Families," she added.

After the lighting of the tree, The Landing will host a spaghetti dinner. Patrons can call The Landing at 598-2426 for more information.

Families can also head to The Landing to take photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus after they give out candy at the tree. The pictures are free, and will be posted on Fort Rucker DFMWR Flickr and Facebook pages.

"We hope our community will join us as we light the tree and enjoy the holiday music from all our choir groups. We'll have plenty of complimentary hot cocoa and cookies for kids, too," said Erdlitz.

Artwork from local children will also be on display at the event.

"We're very excited to be able to have, on display, all the artwork from our military children that participated in the Salute to Military Families artwork and essay contests," said the marketing director. "We'll have a special area set up at the tree lighting, so Families can view all the artwork.

"We have some very talented artists among us. We were just wowed by some of the artwork of our military youth," she continued. "I think, for the Families, this will become a very special memory for them -- to have a hand in lighting the post Christmas tree to kickoff our celebration of the holiday season. (DFMWR) is proud to be a part of making special memories for our Soldiers and Families. The event provides the perfect time to reflect on holidays past and what the holiday has to bring."

Page last updated Wed November 27th, 2013 at 11:32