Gainesville, FL - North Florida Regional Medical Center (NFRMC) will be kicking off the holiday season with its 30th Annual Pond Lighting celebration on Saturday, December 7, 2019, from 5:00pm to 8:00pm. Admission to the family-friendly event is free of charge and open to the public, however, attendees are encouraged to bring a new and unwrapped toy to benefit the US Marine Corps Toys for Tots program.

Every year, thousands of residents gather to spend an evening at North Florida Regional Medical Center's Pond Lighting cultivating the holiday spirit. The 95,000 light display, featuring a host of symbolic holiday figures, has been a time-honored spectacle for the Gainesville community. The theme of the 30th anniversary celebration is, "A Walk Down Memory Lane." In tribute to our theme, guests will have a chance to view a display of photos from past pond lightings, and historical pictures of our hospital as they enjoy the lights around the duck pond.

Major Dennis Wait along with Gainesville High School Junior ROTC and Mr. Brian Chrisp, Alachua and Tri-County Coordinator for the US Marine Corps Toys for Tots, will kick off the festivities with a community welcome, followed by live performances by the Hidden Oak Elementary, Buchholz and Eastside High School choirs, the UF Sedoctaves acapella group, and dancers from Doxa Dance Studio and Gainesville Ballet Theatre. Event emcee, Storm Roberts of WKTK-FM will then lead the traditional countdown to the amazing moment when the pond lights up.

Among this year's merriments are ornament decorating, penguin bowling, as well as the opportunity to take pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus, among other activities. Children will get the chance to experience true holiday cheer with face painting, horse-drawn carriage rides, snowball toss and launch a lump-o-coal carnival games, as well as enjoy our Frozen themed bounce house and other inflatable climbing structures. Enjoy free holiday refreshments, play games and win prizes, and bite into some food truck goodness while enjoying the array of lights and holiday music.

"This year is a historic celebration for us, as we ring in the holiday season and 30 years of Pond Lighting," said Eric Lawson, CEO of North Florida Regional Medical Center. "In keeping with our mission, it is especially important to us to raise awareness for the US Marine Corps Toys for Tots cause, and share the true meaning of the holiday season. We would greatly appreciate any support the community can give in helping us provide a little Christmas magic to local children this holiday season."

The Pond Lighting event will benefit Toys for Tots in memory of Lance Corporal Philip Paul Clark - a local hero who gave his life fighting for our country with the United States Marine Corps in Afghanistan. The US Marine Corps Toys for Tots is an organization whose mission is to help underprivileged children throughout the country experience the joy of the holidays as well as deliver a message of hope.

North Florida Regional Medical Center encourages attendees to help the US Marine Corps Toys for Tots in their mission by bringing a new, unwrapped toy to Pond Lighting. These gifts will then be distributed as Christmas presents to less fortunate children in the Gainesville community. Those who bring a toy or toys for Toys for Tots will be given a "Golden Ticket," which will gain them VIP access to the event's activities.

About Toys for Tots

Toys for Tots is an organization with a primary goal to deliver, through a new toy at Christmas, a message of hope to less fortunate children that will assist them in becoming responsible, productive, patriotic citizens.

Access

Media members are welcome to cover any or all of Pond Lighting. Please note that access to the NFRMC campus is affected by heavy traffic surrounding the event. Feel free to contact the PR and Communications Department in advance for assistance.