When it was announced that The Jacksonville Landing would be torn down, many questions arose among Jax residents.
One of those questions was what would happen to the annual holiday tree lighting ceremony that was hosted by the Landing. The lighting ceremony had become a local tradition ever since the now-vacant downtown mall first opened in 1987, but some worried that the building’s closure would usher in the end of an era.
Luckily, the city has found a new host for the holiday festivities: Hemming Park.
The downtown park will host the city’s 33rd annual tree-lighting ceremony at 6:25 PM on Wednesday, December 4. It’ll be part of Downtown Vision’s monthly Art Walk festival, which itself will be themed around the holiday season.
The star of the show will be a 56-foot Christmas tree, adorned with over 78,000 energy-efficient LED lights and 150 ornaments. The tree is being donated by the Sleiman family which is best known for Sleiman Enterprises, the development company that received a big payday from the city to walk away from the Landing.
While it’s a shame that the tree’s luminous bulbs will no longer be visible along the river, it’s great that the city was able to find a way to keep a decades-old downtown tradition alive.