America’s Oldest Community Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

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With the lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree set for tonight, it’s easily the most famous and recognizable community Christmas tree in the country. But a small town in Bucks County, Pennsylvania owns the distinction of holding the oldest outdoor community Christmas Tree lighting ceremony in the United States.

Perkasie, a town that I once called home, will be celebrating its 108th tree lighting this Saturday at 7pm. The belief that Perkasie began the practice of a community Christmas Tree stems from a book published in 1954 to celebrate the borough’s 75th anniversary, where the tradition is listed under the headline “Perkasie Firsts”. Since the first lighting of the tree in 1909, thousands of communities across the nation have followed in Perkasie’s footsteps. New York City first lit their community Christmas tree in Madison Square Park in 1912.

The Christmas Tree Lighting is no small event to the residents of Perkasie, as people crowd the streets to watch the ceremony every year. The evening is filled with holiday activities such as music, old-fashioned horse and carriage rides around town, and free rides on the Perkasie Carousel. Some of the community’s favorite traditions include Perkasie Mayor John Hollenbach’s reciting of “Twas The Night Before Christmas” on the steps of the borough building and the Nostalgic Holiday Train Display at the Perkasie Electric Building. All of these festivities lead to the grand finale of Santa Claus making his way through town on a fire truck and ringing in the holiday season as he lights up the historic Christmas tree!

Will you be attending a Christmas Tree Lighting this year?


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