Lighting up the holiday season: Students, faculty and staff get together for the annual tree lighting


Photo by Madison Sharrock

The CCU Dance Team talks with vendors and browses available items.

Coastal Carolina University President Michael Benson hosted the annual holiday park lighting and farmer’s market in Blanton Park on Nov. 29.

The event invited all CCU students, faculty and staff to celebrate the upcoming winter holidays. Organizations such as Sustain Coastal, CCU Food Crew, Coastal Activities Board, Office of the President, Office of Student Activities and Leadership, and Waccamaw Market Cooperation will be sponsoring this event.

“This is a zero waste event that we partnered with the president’s office and its great to support the local community which gives us all the holiday cheer,” Sustain Coastal member Riley Ross said.

The event began at 4:30 p.m. and the tree lighting at 7 p.m. where students enjoyed the holiday festivities around them. The holiday festivities included live entertainment provided by the Chanticleer Regiment, pictures with Santa, a 360-degree photo booth and creating holiday crafts with friends.

CCU junior Andrew Michalak said this market had many more small businesses than normal.

“There are a lot more interactive things for everyone to do this time comapred to all the older markets that we had,” Michalak said. “I loved checking out the new ones every time.”

At this event, local food spots will be available to enjoy such as Benito’s Rolling Oven Wood Fire Pizza truck, Caribbean Jerk, EZ Cheesy, Beach Monkey’s, and Chick-fi l-A were at the event for attendees to purchase a dinner option. Complimentary hot chocolate and s’mores were free as well. Local vendors provided different options for gifts to purchase for friends and family for the gift-giving season.

Owner of CookieWorx Casey Buhler Greenzweig said this is one of her favorite events to attend.

“I love the events. I love being on campus. I love the energy of the students and the faculty here are some of the nicest people I have met in my life,” she said.

Some families and students will need the extra holiday cheer in anticipation of the season. The Cino Pantry is currently looking for hygiene product donations and collected items at the event. From these donations, people in need will receive a little extra help, as well as reduce their financial barriers to cleanliness and health.