Tree Lighting downtown draws a good crowd

Joanna Williams

The shutter of cameras could be heard throughout Fountain Square as people snapped pictures of the Tree Lighting tonight symbolizing the start of holiday season in Bowling Green.

Karen Hume, the executive director of the Capital Arts Center, said preparations for the event began in August and continued into November.

“We usually start talking about it and formulating a plan August through September and setting up in October and November,” she said.

Hume said it takes two months for workers to set up the lights throughout Fountain Square.

“In the late summer they begin putting them up,” she said.

Hume said the last two months before the event are always the most stressful.

“It’s the families and the fun and seeing the children smile that makes it all worth it,” she said. “It’s absolutely beautiful.”

David Holt and David Cotois, both San Diego, Calif. natives, said they were in Bowling Green to visit family and heard about the lighting downtown from a local contractor so thy decided to check it out.

“I think it’s lovely and I love the Capital sign,” Holt said. “It creates a mid-western storybook charm. You definitely don’t get to experience this in San Diego.”

Therese Gersok, office manager of the Downtown Redevelopment Authority, said that people at the event this year were able to participate in a new activity called “Passport Around the Square.”

If people at the event chose to participate for each of the stores that they went to on Fountain Square they would receive a stamp on their registration paper, she said. If they visited eight out of the 16 stores then they could have their name entered in a drawing.

“It’s so that people can go inside and see the different stores around the square,” said Gersok, who was in charge of the booth.

Bowling Green Pipe and Cigar offered hot apple cider and cookies to attendants.

Andrew Cole, co-owner of Bowling Green Pipe and Cigar, said giving away free apple cider not only to draw in extra business, but simply because he enjoys being a part of the event.

“I love the lights down here not just for the night, but throughout the season,” he said.

Chad Watts, a Bowling Green resident and an admissions associate in WKU Office of Admissions, attended the event this year for the first time with his wife and 5-year-old daughter.

“My wife heard about it and our little one was excited for it and it’s turned out to be a great night,” he said. “It’s cold, but not too cold. I think we’ll be coming back next year.”

Hume said the lighting is a great way to usher in the holidays.

“It’s one of the greatest events we put on,” she said. “I tell people that if your not in the the Christmas spirit when you get here, you will be when you leave!”