MILLEDGEVILLE — The Pilot Club of Milledgeville will continue lighting up spirits during the Christmas tree lighting event this week as part of the club’s annual holiday tradition.
The event has helped kick of the local holiday season since the 1980s.
“The Pilot Club’s annual Christmas tree lighting is held the Friday after Thanksgiving, and we’ve been doing this each year for more than 30 years. We usually have close to 200 people come out,” said Nancy Miller, club member and former Pilot Club governor of the Georgia District. “We’ve even had people come who came as children and now they’re bringing their children. We want everybody to have a pleasant holiday kickoff to the Christmas season.”
This year’s event is set for 6 p.m. Friday at the old courthouse building in downtown Milledgeville. Mayor Richard Bentley will flip the switch to light up the cedar tree filled with nearly 1,000 lights.
“The firetruck will deliver Santa as our special guest for all of the children to come and tell their secrets to. We encourage families to bring their own cameras to take photos,” Miller said. “There will be face-painting. We will have two folks helping us sing Christmas carols, Terri Wiggins and the Milledgeville Idol winner Tommy Clark.”
The club will also accept monetary donations “in honor of” or “in memory of” through its Light A Light program and list the names will be featured on the front lawn of the old courthouse.
“We do the lighting as a fundraiser for the Pilot Club. Donations help us with our service projects over the year, including the child car seat safety check, providing goody bags and monetary prizes for the Georgia War Veterans Home for bingo, and our brain safety awareness program,” Miller said. “The economy has been so bad that we’re just grateful for whatever donations we can acquire. The community continues to support us for our efforts in this community.”
John Milledge Academy students involved with the Anchor Club, the affiliate organization to Pilot Club, will volunteer and lend a helping hand during the event, providing hot chocolate, coffee and cookies to those who attend.
“We want to give a big thank you to Georgia College Plant Operations for making sure the tree is lit and the bulbs are good to go. We were concerned that the tree might be cut down because it’s so dry. I don’t know what we will do if the tree has to come down — probably just buy another one for us to grow. For now, the tree is OK and it’s hanging in there. We would love for the community to come out, support us and just be with us during our holiday kickoff.”
Pilot International was founded in 1921 as a volunteer service organization, states the Pilot International website. Pilot members are business and professional leaders who have the desire to help people in need and to make the world a better place to live. Since 1991, the service focus of Pilot International has been helping people affected by brain-related disorders.
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