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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Tree-lighting ceremony goes live

Last years was virtual, but ‘Hometown’ celebration this year returns to usual format

By Greg Ellison

(Nov. 25, 2021) After switching to a virtual format last year, Ocean Pines 11th annual “Hometown Christmas Tree Lighting,” event is scheduled on Saturday beginning at 6:30 p.m. in White Horse Park.

Recreation Supervisor Katie Goetzinger said holiday revelers are invited to witness the lighting of decorated trees for the first time this yuletide season.

“There’s going to be 40 trees up in the park this year,” she said.

The dozens of decked-out holiday trees will remain on display in White Horse Park through New Year’s.

“Each tree is sponsored and decorated by a different business, family or Ocean Pines community group,” she said.

Goetzinger expressed relief the celebration could return to form this year after being staged virtually in 2020.

“Last year we had to pull back, but this year [we] return to normal,” she said. “I’m hoping to have the park filled with 500 people again like it has been in years past.”

Santa Claus is also scheduled for a brief visit on Saturday.

“He will stop by for a greeting on Saturday,” she said.

Kids looking to put in gift requests with St. Nick have two chances when Santa returns to the Pines on Fri. Dec. 18 from 5-8 p.m. and Sat. Dec 19 from 2-4 p.m.

Canine fans can learn who was selected in the annual “Pup of the Pines” photo contest, with the winner unveiled on Saturday.

Goetzinger has overseen production of the Hometown Christmas Tree Lighting  for the past nine years.

“Many of the people are returning sponsors that have done it year after year,” she said.

On a related note, the annual “Light Up the Pines” outdoor decorating program, sponsored by Choptank Electric Cooperative, is underway, with an initial deadline to participate on Dec. 3

An online map of participating homes may be viewed at

Participating homes will be entered into a drawing to win one of three $50 bill credits donated by Choptank. Also, the first 25 registered participants receive a small goody bag courtesy of Choptank.

Households wanting to participate should submit their name, address and phone number via email to or call 410-641-7717 ext. 3014.