LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (News release) – Arkansas Secretary of State John Thurston will host the 81st Anniversary of the State Capitol Lighting Ceremony this Saturday evening, December 7th. This year’s emcee will be local radio celebrity Roger Scott from 103.7 FM The Buzz. Other special guests include Santa and Mrs. Claus, the St. Mark Baptist Church Choir and the Catholic High Junior ROTC Honor Guard.
The ceremony will also honor Gold Star Families, those who have lost loved ones in war. The Arkansas Gold Star Families Memorial Monument was recently dedicated at the State Capitol and is the feature of this year’s Capitol Christmas ornament.
The tradition of lighting the Capitol began in 1938, when then Secretary of State “Crip” Hall began this time-honored tradition as a gift to children at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. He himself suffered from polio as a child and wanted to help lift the spirits of children suffering from life threatening illnesses. Not only did he lift their spirits, but as a leader, he showed empathy, kindness, and joy to these children in their time of need. In honor of this tradition, we continue to light the entire Capitol Building so it will be visible from Arkansas Children’s Hospital.
Weather permitting, the Capitol Lighting will be followed by fireworks. After the fireworks, the public is invited to come into the Capitol for activities and to see all of the Christmas decorations. The Arkansas Gospel Mass Choir will perform on the second floor of the rotunda. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be on hand to see all of the children in his workshop, also in the second floor rotunda. Children’s authors Carol Dabney and Caryn Southerland will host music and storytelling in the Old Supreme Court Room and in the Governor’s Conference Room. A new Capitol Exhibit featuring holiday-themed LEGO scenes will be viewable in the first floor galleries.
Come join us for a great time of holiday fun at your Arkansas State Capitol on Saturday evening, December 7th, starting at 5:30 pm, after the Little Rock Big Jingle Jubilee Holiday Parade. This is a free, family-friendly event.
If you cannot join us at the Lighting Ceremony, the Capitol will be open to the public for extended hours during the December holiday season. The Capitol will be open Monday through Friday from 8 am to 9 pm, and on weekends and holidays from 10 am to 9 pm.
Click here for the Lighting Ceremony Parking Shuttle Map.