Dover Holiday Tradition Looks to Move Back to Traditional Locati - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Dover Holiday Tradition Looks to Move Back to Traditional Location

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DOVER, Del. (WBOC) - Dover's annual tree lighting ceremony looks like it will be moving back to its traditional home. That comes after people complained about the new location used last year.

The city used a huge evergreen tree right across Loockerman Street from city hall for the ceremony. But last year the lighting happened two blocks away from Loockerman Way Plaza, much to the chagrin of many who liked this traditional location.

Monday city council voted on moving the event back to the city hall site.

That site is just off the center of downtown. Loockerman Way Plaza is right in the middle.

"The initial plan was to help increase awareness about and showcase the downtown business district," said Tonda Parks, who helps plan the event.

Parks says it did just that. The businesses that surround the park saw increased business that night.

But under the outward appearance of holiday happiness, a number of people in attendance were unhappy with the location of the lighting.

"[They were] asking why it couldn't return to the original location in front of city hall, where we have the tree that everyone does look forward to lighting every year," said Ann Marie Townshend, head of the city's parks and recreation department.

For those people, like so many things during the holidays, this was about tradition. Townshend says it appears the tree lighting had been happening outside city hall for three decades.

"[They thought] that there was a stronger tradition here and that this is where it's been and that there's a lot of tradition in having it here."

Tradition may not have been the only reason people preferred a move back to the tree at city hall. That tree is real. Because of the location, last year's was artificial.

The public weighed in at a recent city council committee meeting heavily in favor of going back to the location outside city hall.

Despite the spot switch, planners still intend to get the rest of downtown, including the businesses, including Loockerman Way Plaza, involved in the big event.

"We will spread some of the activities out throughout downtown, for example, have Santa arrive from the west end," said Parks. "The idea now is incorporate old traditions and bring out new traditions."

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