BALTIMORE (WJZ) – Monument Lighting is making a comeback after taking a year-long hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The annual event is a tradition in Baltimore, which marks the unofficial start of the holiday season. This year marks the 50e birthday.
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It’s about hanging thousands of Christmas lights – 8,400 to be exact – at the Washington Monument in historic Mount Vernon, starting at the base of the monument and working your way up to the top.
âOther cities can light a tree, but Baltimore has to do it its own way,â said Mike Evitts, senior vice president of communications for the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore. “So, we light up our monument, which incidentally is older than that of DC”
Due to the pandemic, the event took place virtually last year. But this year, organizers are preparing to host the festivities in person again.
The event is scheduled for Thursday evening from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Mount Vernon Place, located at 699 Washington Place.
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As in years past, it will feature food, fireworks and live entertainment, which will include performances by DJ Impulse, Brandon Woody, the Baltimore School for the Arts, Rufus Roundtree and Da B’more Brass Factory, Zadia and the Morgan State University Choir.
âIt’s just kind of a reason to get together and show how pretty the neighborhoods are,â said one Mount Vernon resident. âIt’s pretty cool. You can see it from the Inner Harbor and right down to downtown.
The monument, completed in 1829, serves as the centerpiece of Mount Vernon. Once the lights are on, the spectacle is visible to the whole city.
While organizers have reduced tradition to a science over the years, this hasn’t always been the case. In fact, it originally started out as a quiet gathering with a few neighbors.
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âMonument Lighting is really a popular event. Those were its origins, âsaid Evitt. “But it has become this great show because people enjoy it so much.”