News Story

Festival Lights Up the D.C. Sky

Thousands of visitors stroll among more than 450,000 Christmas lights at the 31st annual Festival of Lights on the grounds of the Washington D.C. Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The official lighting ceremony took place 4 December with Elder Neil L. Andersen, senior president of the Church’s Quorum of the Seventy, and His Excellency Ronen Sen, the ambassador of India, joining together to illuminate the lights.  Each delivered remarks to the audience, which included Ambassadors and diplomatic representatives from over 27 nations, and members of the United States Congress.

The Mormon Choir of Washington, D.C., performed the music, which included traditional Christmas carols sung by the choir and congregation.

Featured performers at this year’s concerts include The Salvation Army National Capital Band, acclaimed pianist Marvin Goldstein (18 December), and Sam Warren, a member of the Church and one of the original members of the Drifters, a popular 1950s musical group (26 December).

The festival includes an exhibit that features Nativity scenes from over 30 countries. In addition, there are 17 decorated Christmas trees inside the temple visitors’ center, with four international trees exhibiting dolls donated by more than 90 embassies in Washington.

The festival runs through 1 January 2009 from dusk to 10 p.m. daily. There is no admission charge.

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.