PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Panama City got a little bit brighter Friday night. St. Andrews residents flipped the switch on the Christmas tree at Oaks By The Park.

For more than two decades St. Andrews residents have lit their Christmas tree to kick off the holiday season. On  Friday the Ukulele Orchestra of St. Andrews kicked off the festivities.

“Throughout the month of December, each Friday night we’re going to have live music from 5:30 to 7:30,” St. Andrews Waterfront Partnership Board Member Janis Boatright said.

Organizers said the event has been going on for 21 years and continues to grow every Christmas season.

The event was originally just a few figurines in Oaks By the Bay. But over time more decorations were added annually before Hurricane Michael. After the storm organizers had to replace their original tree.

“Our original tree, it blew down in the hurricane and Lisenby nursery about three years ago, donated our existing tree, which was was much smaller,” Boatright said. “It was about a five or six foot tree. And it’s grown. And the tree actually symbolizes the growth that this community has gone through and continues to go through every year.”

The community has continued to grow since the storm and the tradition is now the biggest its ever been. 

“This is our largest light display ever as this year and each year it grows and grows,” Panama City Commissioner Josh Street said. “And we’re just so thankful to be able to have this and a beautiful park right here on the water with a century-old, multiple century-old oak and so many new oaks that we planted since Hurricane Michael.”

Boatright expects thousands of people to visit the park throughout December. She hopes live music every Friday night will be a big attraction.