Center Place Fine Arts & Civic Association has been a part of the Brandon community for more than 48 years. For most of those 48 years, Center Place has been hosting its annual Christmas Tree Lighting during the first week of December.
“The annual Christmas Tree Lighting is a free community event,” said Center Place’s executive director, Libby Hopkins. “The Christmas tree is lit in the pond behind Center Place, and to many, this symbolizes the beginning of Christmas in our community.”
Since Center Place’s reopening after the recent COVID-19 pandemic, the annual Christmas Tree Lighting has been plagued by vandals.
“The last two years, Center Place has had major issues with vandals cutting the wires to the Christmas tree and to the Christmas lights we have decorating our back deck and gazebo,” Hopkins said. “Since Center Place is still recovering from the recent pandemic, like most nonprofits in the area, it was a huge financial hardship for Center Place to pay for the replacement of all the Christmas lights for two Christmas tree lightings.”
Hopkins and her executive board at Center Place do not want to see this community tradition die, so they are looking to the community to help sponsor their annual Christmas tree Lighting and help keep it safe from vandals.
“We are currently looking into installing cameras and motion detectors for Center Place,” Hopkins said. “The cost of cameras will be expensive, so we are hoping that a local business or corporation who may read this story in the paper would be willing to sponsor Center Place’s annual Christmas tree Lighting.”
Since becoming the executive director of Center Place in October 2020, Hopkins has heard many heartwarming stories from the community about members of their families getting married at Center Place or attending events at Center Place, like the Christmas tree Lighting.
“This community has so many beautiful and happy memories of our beloved Center Place and it would break my heart and the community’s heart to not have our annual Christmas Tree Lighting,” Hopkins said. “I truly hope that someone will read this article and reach out to us at Center Place to help keep our traditions alive and well.”
If you would like to help Center Place by sponsoring its annual Christmas Tree Lighting, you can contact Center Place’s executive director, Libby Hopkins, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at Center Place at 813-685-8888.
Center Place Fine Arts & Civic Association is located at 619 Vonderburg Dr., Ste. B inside the Brandon Regional Library.