The City of Cookeville will host its 7th annual Christmas Tree Lighting on Wednesday, December 1st at 6 p.m. at Dogwood Park.
Mayor Ricky Shelton said that the community has faced a difficult two years with the tornado and the pandemic. He said he hopes that this can serve as something to bring everyone together in the holiday spirit.
“You know our community has changed because of a lot of these things but this is an opportunity to come together in a family feel-good event which is what we wanted,” Shelton said. “And I’ve had a lot of people say, ‘You know this is like a Hallmark movie,’ which is very gratifying.”
Shelton said that this year’s event will have performances from acapella group the Voices of Lee and singer Jake Hoot. He said that there will also be celebration services with local churches, food trucks, and hot chocolate and cider.
Shelton said that he and his wife came up with the idea after his first tree lighting as mayor in 2014. He said that they wanted to turn the lighting into an even bigger scale tradition for the community.
“And the next year the city purchased this tree in Dogwood Park and I started designing a program,” Shelton said. “Well God laid it on my heart that this should be more than a tree lighting. So I invited a dozen pastors here at city hall, and we talked about it and just shared what was on my heart about it and they were all like, ‘We’re in, we’re in, we’re in,’ and so what that turned into, and I’m a huge planner so I started planning this like in August, all the parts and pieces to it. And here we are now seven years later. Of course last year we had to do it virtually because of COVID but were so proud to be back live.”
Shelton said that this year’s lighting has extra special meaning to him, as it’s his last one as mayor. He said that the experience has been awesome and that he appreciates all who have been involved in it. He said that while he doesn’t know the future of the event, he’s sure that Leisure Services will come up with a program to carry on a favorite Cookeville tradition.