FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- The weather outside may not be frightful and white snow may not be fluttering from the sky, but Fort Rucker serves up its own cup of holiday cheer with the traditional lighting of the post Christmas tree.

Fort Rucker officials will ring in the holiday season with the annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, Dec. 2 at 5 p.m. on Howze Field.

This Fort Rucker tradition provides an outdoor holiday season experience where Soldiers, Families and local communities join together and celebrate the beginning of holiday festivities.

"I attended the ceremony last year and I'll be there again this year," said Jack Duluoz, Wiregrass area citizen. "It makes me proud that all Soldiers, former and current, are all one big Family. I felt like I was home."

Holiday carols will be rendered by various post groups and organizations, and holiday music will be performed by the 98th Army Silver Wings Band.

"There will be free cocoa and coffee to help keep out the winter chill as local choirs sing carols, the 98th Army Silver Wings Band plays a medley of songs and the commanding general announces the ornament contest winners," said Kimberly Abeln, Directorate of Family, Morale Welfare and Recreation annual events coordinator.

DFMWR hosts the annual Christmas tree ornament contest, and prizes are awarded to first-place entries in the following categories: 3-5 years old, 6-8 years old and 9-11 years old. An overall winner is also named and gets to help light the tree with Brig. Gen. Anthony G. Crutchfield, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker commanding general.

Once the tree is lit, Santa Claus will make an appearance on an antique fire engine to hand out candy canes and visit with children.

After the ceremony, Santa and Mrs. Claus will head over to The Landing for free photo sessions.
"I've heard his elves have been very busy this year, and might even have a few goodies for those boys and girls who've been good," said Abeln.