Even before people started to mull their Thanksgiving menus, a hard-working Facilities Management crew was busy stringing a new set of holiday lights for the University of Virginia’s popular community event, Lighting of the Lawn.

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This year’s shimmering Lighting of the Lawn is set for Dec. 5, beginning at 7 p.m. with entertainment from several a capella and other student groups. The light show begins at 9 p.m. It is free and open to the public.

In the weeks leading up to the event, the Central Grounds Zone Maintenance team of electricians and roofers worked with student volunteers to sort, move and install lights along the Lawn balconies and pavilion columns, as well as on the Rotunda.

Roofer Ronnie Dudley pulls a cord to the top of the Rotunda, powering some of the more than 3,000 feet of lights hung for Lighting of the Lawn, a student-run event.

In addition to the installation of lights, Facilities Management lays down floor protection inside the pavilions, which host several holiday parties. The crew also provides power for audio equipment, the free hot chocolate and cookie stand, and for the food trucks stationed on the South Lawn. It also helps set up of solar panels to power all of the lights.

Mountains bedecked in fall colors can be seen in the distance as a Facilities Management crew works. In all, 11,000 LED lights illuminate the Academical Village.

“We absolutely love working with Facilities Management every year to hang lights all over the Lawn and the Rotunda,” said third-year student Ally Bollettino, the marketing chair of Lighting of the Lawn, a student-organized event. “They are so kind and excited to be working on this, which makes it so much fun for us. They are such a huge part of the process and Lighting of the Lawn would not be possible without their help.’

Roofers George Prokopic and DeShon Langston are bundled up as they unfurl lights on the roof of the Rotunda. Last year, Facilities Management workers spent 482 hours supporting Lighting of the Lawn.

“This year’s theme is ‘Illuminate,’” Bollettino said. “The definition of illuminate is ‘to supply or brighten with light,’ which is exactly what we want to do for Charlottesville.

“We are focusing on how each Charlottesville resident illuminates our community in their own unique way. We want to bring the entire community together because Lighting of the Lawn is an event for everyone who loves and cares about Charlottesville.”

Organizers urge attendees to arrive at least 45 minutes ahead of show time to go through metal detectors, and to not bring bags unless absolutely necessary. Gates open at 6 p.m. and patrons with bags should expect delays so bags can be inspected.


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Jane Kelly

University News Senior Associate Office of University Communications