The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

Annual Hamilton Tree Lighting Kicks off December


The annual Hamilton “Night of Lights” tree lighting event was held on Friday, Dec. 1. This year’s ceremony was hosted by the Hamilton Rotary Club, which partnered with various local businesses to help kick off the holiday season. 

The event consisted of performances by dance and a cappella groups alike, as well as the lighting of the Christmas tree and a display of a Hanukkah menorah. Colgate University a cappella groups also participated in the event and sang classic holiday songs from artists such as Mariah Carey.

First-year Sophia Green found the performances to be a great addition to the Night of Lights.

“The a cappella groups’ performances really brought everyone together,” Green said. “Everyone was dancing and singing along, from Colgate students to Hamilton residents.” 

Collette Pretre, the secretary of the Hamilton Rotary Club, was one of the main organizers of the event.

Rotary is an organization that serves the local and global community, so planning and sponsoring this celebration is something we are very happy to do for Hamilton and the surrounding community,” Pretre said. 

The student a cappella groups were just one of the examples of local connections that brought this event to life. 

“Dayna Campbell, [director of] Colgate’s Office of Student Involvement, helped us schedule Colgate a cappella groups such as the Swinging Gates, Colgate 13, Colgate Dischords and Colgate Mantiphondrakes to perform in the other gazebo,” Pretre said. 

The Rotary worked to reach the full potential of this event by coordinating with other Hamilton businesses. The Hamilton Fire Department contributed a sleigh for Santa to arrive in after the tree was lit, and the Colgate Inn donated hot chocolate and cookies that were served by Rotary members. 

“There are many community and business members on Rotary that have donated their time and resources to put this event together,” Pretre said. “The free event is a really special Hamilton tradition that brings the community together.”  

The town of Hamilton worked to bridge relationships between the Colgate community and the village’s youth as well. The Hamilton Public Library set up an arts and crafts table for children to partake in festive activities. Attendees could see some of the crafts displayed as festive decorations all around the event.

“Art teacher at HCS [Hamilton Central School], Denise Whalen, helped Hamilton art students create more than 300 luminaries that will illuminate the Village green and be set up by volunteers from HCS Honor and Jr. Honor Society,” Pretre said.“Overall, Rotary has been working hard to make this year’s event a wonderful night to celebrate the holidays.”  

Students found comfort in the aspect of togetherness, which was proven through Friday’s event. First-year student Lauren Kelley described her feelings while attending the tree lighting ceremony. 

“The tree lighting was such an amazing way to get in the holiday spirit while I’m away from home, and it was also really nice to see all of the Hamilton families and the little kids getting so excited for Christmas,” Kelley said.

The Night of Lights was an excellent way to kick off the holiday season and promote a fostering of community spirit. First-year Lael Gott expressed her gratitude towards the event.

“The Night of Lights was such a fun experience. I am so glad to have been able to attend,” Gott said. “It really made me appreciative of the strong connections we have with our local community.”

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