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Christmas Tree lighting brings holiday spirit

By Staff | Dec 7, 2009

It was just moments before the tree was lit, before Mr. and Mrs. Claus made their annual appearance at Saturday’s Festival of Lights, that Pat and Jim Holloway took the time to reflect on Christmases that have come and gone.
“It reminds you of your youth,” Jim said of the festival. “Just all of the songs, all of the good times … all of the better times.”
The Holloways have been coming downtown to watch the tree being lit for the past eight years, ever since they first moved to Cape Coral from Columbus, Ohio.
They line their lawn chairs along Cape Coral Parkway, watching families stroll up and down the street during the festival, sneaking kisses with each other after the the tree is finally lit.
Pat Holloway said she enjoys watching the “four and two legged” animals as much as anything else during the festival.
She also said over the past eight years the festival has grown a lot, making it more fun for kids.
But like her husband, the festival provides a happy, if not bittersweet, opportunity to think back on holidays past.
“It’s sentimental,” she said of the festival. “You think of family you don’t have any more, you think of your younger days, of all the memories.”
Thousands of people flocked downtown on Saturday night to watch the tree light up the start of the Christmas season in Cape Coral.
Along with carnival rides, vendors, street performances, and the aforementioned Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus – provided kids the chance to announce their holiday wishes – there was also a chill in the air, adding to the feeling that the holidays had truly arrived.
Just before the arrival of the famous couple, though, Cape Coral’s mayor John Sullivan took time to remind the crowd what he loves about the holiday season.
“This is a precious time of each year. There’s something in the air that’s almost magical,” he said. “But we need to keep the Christmas spirit all year long in the Cape.”