The Christmas tree lights up James Weldon Johnson Park in Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It’s officially Christmas time in Jacksonville – the switch flipped on Tuesday night and the downtown tree was lit.

At 6.15 p.m. the lights on the tree lit up, showing the beautiful blue, red and gold ornaments.

This year the tree lighting was virtual, so many people were watching on their television screens at home.

There were a few people who showed up to see it in person, like Belinda Stewart.

“This is a very special time of year for everyone and we just love to see the Christmas tree lights, especially in Jacksonville,” said Steward.

Mayor Lenny Curry was supposed to be on the lights, but protesters in the area forced Curry to cancel his scheduled performance. They protested the controversial Lot J proposal, and a sign is said to have the mayor’s children’s names on it. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s office advised his family not to be there out of caution.

For the past few years, the ceremony took place at Jacksonville Landing, which was being demolished. Last year during the demolition, the ceremony was moved to what was formerly known as Hemming Park.

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