Hodges sets Dec. 3 for annual memory tree lighting ceremony

Preparations are underway for Hodges’ annual memory tree lighting event. It’s scheduled for Dec. 3 at 6 p.m. in Hodges Town Park. Paper angel decorations, available for $5 each, will have names written on them in remembrance of lost loved ones.  

The band Hill Country, along with Brianna Dean and Garrett Dean, will perform, as well as a chorus group from Missionary Baptist Church in Hodges that comes and sings Christmas songs. After that, the name of each person is read aloud, the tree is lit and balloons are released. Hot chocolate and finger foods will be available.

This year’s event coordinator, Carla Woods, estimates around 80 were sold last year, noting this year’s number is already close to 96. There will be blank angel decorations available for purchase on the night of the event as well. 

“We skipped a year for COVID, and this will be our fourth year. We start selling them at the Spirit of Hodges Festival, and we write a name on each one. We do this to honor the memory of a loved one, friend, neighbor or whoever someone wants to remember.” 

Woods said whatever money is made is used to buy Christmas decorations for the park and, if any is left after that, it goes toward upgrades and whatever’s needed at the park. 

She said the memory tree tradition got its start with Kathy Wigginton planting the tree in memory of her son, Joseph.  

“It’s getting a little bigger each year,” Woods said of the event. “We have a lot of donated time and effort.” 

When Wigginton stepped back from coordinating the event, Woods, who used to be in charge of park decorations, began leading the preparations.

“It just brings everybody out, gets them all together and remembering people,” Woods added. “When I was making these angels out the other night, there were maybe ten out of almost a hundred I didn’t personally know. It was a trip down memory lane.” 

For more information, call Woods at 205-528-1154 or Hodges Town Hall at 205-935-3445. 

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