TAHLEQUAH — Northeastern State University’s Seminary Hall will soon be bright with lights for the holidays as the campus prepares for the Lights On ceremony, which has become a tradition for the Tahlequah community.
Lights On starts at 6 p.m. today in front of NSU’s iconic building. The holiday lights will be turned on at about 6:40 p.m.
NSU President Steve Turner will welcome attendees. The hosts for the ceremony will be his wife, Penny, and Tahlequah Mayor Jason Nichols.
“This year we are excited to have our new first lady co-hosting the event,” Robyn Pursley, NSU’s theatre coordinator and Lights On organizer, said in a media release. “Kids will also find a surprise inside Seminary Hall as they wait in line to see Santa — the elves will be setting up a remote toy workshop so that they can be making toys right in front of us!”
Pursley said Lights On would take place in conjunction with the lighting ceremony at the courthouse in Cherokee Square at 5:30 p.m.
“The lighting events are being held in coordination as part of the ‘Tahlequah: City of Firsts’ campaign,” she said. “The city, the Cherokee Nation and NSU are teaming to create an event for all the people of Tahlequah and the surrounding area.”
Holiday standards will be performed by the NSU Brass Quintet, the Tahlequah High School Show Choir, the Tahlequah Academy of Performing Arts, NSU’s Stars in the Summer, second-grade choirs from Tahlequah Public Schools and Miss Northeastern 2012 Katie Bowin.
“We have asked these particular people and groups to perform in an effort to represent the NSU and Tahlequah communities and to show off the wonderful talents and offerings that we have in our city,” Pursley said.
Mrs. Claus will read “’Twas the Night Before Christmas.” Santa will arrive near the end of the event to be photographed with children. Kids will also receive a small gift from Santa, and a special mailbox will be set up so they can leave letters to him.
Pursley encouraged parents to bring a camera to photograph their children with Santa. “We will be able to take Polaroid photos, but due to limited supplies they are reserved only for families that do not have a camera,” she said.
This is the fifth year Pursley has planned Lights On, and she always looks forward to it, she said.
“I have always loved Christmas,” she said. “I think it should be a wonderfully magical time for all kids, including those less fortunate. It is important that we do what we can to bring that magic to them. I also think it is wonderful that this event brings so many people to campus. We want to bring everyone together to kick off the holiday season.”
Information: (918) 444-2793.