By Sara E. Martin, Army Flier Staff WriterNovember 29, 2012
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (November 29, 2012) -- Christmas traditions, some would say, are what make the season memorable and special, and Fort Rucker has a few traditions of its own coming up to welcome the Christmas holiday.
Fort Rucker will host one of these traditions, its annual Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony Dec. 6 from 5-6 p.m., according to Kimberly Abeln, Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation annual events coordinator.
"The event will be held at Howze Field, across the street from The Landing. We use a live tree that is planted in the ground. It is around 22 feet high and we have to decorate it with a bucket truck," she said.
Maj. Gen. Kevin W. Mangum, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker commanding general, will light the tree along with the youth ornament decorating contest winner.
"The one lucky winner of the contest will help light the tree," said Abeln. The contest ran Nov. 1-25 and the winner's name is being held until the ceremony.
To keep children and adults warm and cozy, refreshments will be served before and during the festivities.
"There will be free coffee and cocoa to keep everyone warm. We don't want any chilly fingers," she said.
Enjoying a hot beverage while mingling with people from the local community is a good way to begin December, Abeln said.
"This is a great event that gives Soldiers, Families, retirees and civilians the opportunity to usher in the holiday season together. It is a wonderful way to support those who support our troops, such as the Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, post chapel choir, 98th Army Band and local volunteers," she said.
The tree lighting is an important tradition, according to Abeln.
"It not only marks the beginning of the holiday season, but gives the community a chance to exchange holiday greetings with each other," she said.
A man in a big red suit will also be in attendance.
"Santa will arrive after the official portion of the tree lighting is complete," said Abeln. "After the event outside is over, Santa will be heading over to The Landing for complimentary photos. We've been told his elves are hard at work and that there may be some goodies for the good boys and girls."
The Landing is also hosting a tradition -- its spaghetti dinner will be from 6-8 p.m., right after the lighting ceremony.
"Families can eat first and then take photos or vice versa. It's such a great community event," she said.
The Landing is hosting a Family special price for the buffet-style dinner for $25 that includes two adults and up to two children 12, and younger.
"Adults ages 13 and older will be $10, children ages 3-12 are $5 and children ages 2 and younger eat for free," said Esther Rodriguez, The Landing's marketing operations assistant.
Those who choose to buy dinner will have a choice of pasta and sauce, and will have choices like a salad bar, garlic bread, assorted cookies, tea and coffee.
"The dinner is a great way to make memories for Families to share with each other," she said. "It's going to be a great time to spend with Family and friends."