Season of Lights and Good Cheer

December 05, 1992

There is something quite magical about the lights of th holiday season, the way they give a storybook atmosphere to the trees around Baltimore's Harborplace, for example. Those countless bulbs may not cancel the cold realities of everyday life but they help us remember that darkness is only a temporary condition followed by light.

This holiday season is marked by more light than usual. A high-intensity beacon on top of the 27-story HarborView condominium building near Federal Hill is being tested. Meanwhile, the number of high-rise office buildings around the Inner Harbor that are lit at night keeps increasing. So does the number of illuminated church steeples.

Away from the Inner Harbor, the season's big event was yesterday's ceremonial lighting and reopening of Baltimore's Washington Monument. There was music and a special-effects light show finale.

The 178-foot landmark, which has been under repairs since 1985, will be open to visitors from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Those with enough stamina can climb all 228 steps to the top of the tower that was the America's first tribute to its founding president.

Mount Vernon is the city's foremost public square, looking better and better after years of improvements. However, Baltimore's official holiday tree will not be there -- or at City Hall, which will have the mayor's official holiday tree -- but on McKeldin Square, near Harborplace at Light and Pratt streets. It will be lit at 5:30 p.m. today, followed by the fifth annual Parade of Lighted Boats, expected to feature more than 45 colorfully decorated and illuminated vessels.

As if that is not enough, a mini-fireworks display will close the program. Some fireworks will also follow a 5 p.m. Harborplace caroling session on Dec. 15 and a 5 p.m. performance by the Handel Choir of Baltimore on Dec. 20.

Many Baltimore City neighborhoods are sponsoring festivities throughout the holiday season. The most ambitious program is in Fells Point, the old maritime community at the foot of Broadway, where a series of events from candlelight tours to music are planned. Enjoy!

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