Surrounded by community members, Mayor London Breed tonight led the countdown to lighting of the iconic Monterey cypress tree in Golden Gate Park’s east end—a San Francisco holiday tradition that began in 1929.
The annual tree lighting celebration, held by the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department, featured live music, dance, theater and juggling, as well as cookie decorating, carnival rides, food trucks, and interactive light installations. The celebration, Jingle on JFK, was co-sponsored by the San Francisco Parks Alliance and Illuminate.
Each year, notable community members push the lever that sparks more than 550 multi-colored lights. This year it was centenarian Willard Harris and her granddaughter, Mo Martinez, as well and Dr. Nas Mohamed, a San Francisco physician and human rights activist for LGBTQ+ Qataris.
Throughout the holiday season, visitors can journey through an immersive outdoor wonderland of light, nature and art along nearly a mile of car-free JFK Drive and the park’s Music Concourse. Entwined, a returning art installation by Charles Gadeken, will again transform Peacock Meadow into an enchanted forest of otherworldly shapes and ever-changing light that allows visitors to explore twisting paths, sit under colorful trees, and admire nature-inspired sculptures that flower with light. This year, Entwined is bigger and more interactive, allowing viewers to directly manipulate the sequences of changing lights and peer through portals.
Known as Uncle John’s Tree in honor of Golden Gate Park’s designer and first park superintendent John McLaren, the more than 135-year-old giant cypress was first illuminated with 800 bulbs on McLaren’s 84th birthday.
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