The tradition of lighting the Cookeville Christmas tree will continue, but residents will have to watch online this year.
Cookeville Mayor Ricky Shelton said it was not a decision he wanted to have to make, but knew it was the right thing to do for public health and safety. Shelton said those who tune in will get the traditions they are used to and maybe more.
“We’ll have several pastors from local churches will be reading the Christmas story, as we always do,” Shelton said. “We’ll have a few music selections, Jake Hoot will be singing a few songs and so we’re very excited about that… and there might be a surprise or two.”
The lighting is happening December 6 at 6:00 PM on Mayor Shelton’s Facebook page. Shelton said the event will be shorter than usual, but designed to honor the tradition.
“I’ve designed it so that it will have parts that everyone’s come to know and love and expect when we do this event,” Shelton said.
Shelton said the crowds this event can bring are amazing to see. However, he said this year it just is not a time to bring that many people together.
“To assemble for that one event, when we’ve had 2,000, 3,000, 4,000 up to 5,000 people in the park for that,” Shelton said. “While that’s awesome in a normal time, in the time that we’re in right now and just in respect for everyone’s health we just felt it was better to do it virtual.”
Shelton said the tree will be lit until January 4. He said the light show will continue this year at the top of each hour from 5:00 PM until 9:00 PM each night.