In early December Livi Kelly came up with the idea to have a Christmas Tree Lighting in the Marshall Williams neighborhood. Levi called on James McCants and Dick Ward to help plan and carry out the event.

The first major need was to develop a budget. These three men met and developed a budget of about $4,000.00. The CRA contributed just over $1,700.00, Baptist Hospital contributed $1,100.00, the mayor and all the commissioners contributed to the event. There were several others that helped us meed the budget.

Many Christmas materials were needed: A Christmas tree, tree lights, lots of wiring for electricity, an electrical box for all connections, public works truck to place the high lights on the trees. After collecting all these materials, a planning session was held with several members of the neighborhood. This meeting resulted in lots of excellent recommendations. Now it was time to start the needed construction for the event.

Two days before the event decorating and other jobs were started. Doug Baker made a stand for the tree. Men from the public works department brought needed equipment to place the lights in the higher places on the Chrstimas Tree and other nearby trees and bushes. Men from public works brought a large wreath to add to the decorations. The recreation department provided bleachers and the stage. A group of men that meet on a bench near the tree every night watered the tree each night. The entire job was completed and ready for the show.

On the day of the show Kevin Winkler, CEO of North Cut Tree Inc. contributed 75 Christmas Trees to give to people in the neighborhood. All 75 trees were free and gone by 6 p.m. the day of the event. Mr. Winkler also gave us a good price on the main tree.

During the event on December 19, 300 cupcakes were provided by Mr. Coats. The South Miami Police Department provided bags with fruit and nuts. You can bet n oohing was left over.

The program started at 7:30 p.m. with a welcome by Vice Mayor Walter Harris. The signal was then given to Levi Kelly who threw the switch that lit up everything.

Dr. Joyce Price was then introduced as the MC for the night. She did such a good job that you would have thought that she was a professional TV person. Dr. Price introduced all the events of the night. Four Christmas Carols were sung by all in attendance. All the children were called to the front of the stage to sing Jingle Bells.

There were around 300 people in attendance. The evening was an outstanding event bringing the neighborhood together in a way that has never been done in South Miami before. We look forward to presenting an even better event next. year.

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