LIGHT TOWER: At the turning on of a giant Christmas tree at Bayworld are, from left, Mavis Singata, and Justine and Pooven Reddy, with little Taytum Reddy, 2.
The elderly from the Buffelsfontein Retirement Village in Walmer and dozens of youngsters from the Eastern Province Child and Youth Care Centre were the first to witness the unveiling of a giant Christmas tree at Bayworld on Wednesday night.
The tree will stand tall throughout the festive season.
The occasion, sponsored by SPAR, included gift packs for the special guests while Christmas music filled the air.
Bolekwa Mda, of the Eastern Province Child and Youth Care Centre, said the children had been looking forward to the event.
“This group is staying behind [at the centre] for the holidays while the other children went home to their families, so for them to be here is a great thing,” Mda said.
“They did not get time to go out much during the year so now this was a great opportunity to make them feel good.”
Claire Venn, who entertained the crowd, said: “It’s great to be here.
“It’s great to give back at Christmas time.”
SPAR advertising manager Roseann Shadrach, said the experience was also special to them.
“It is very special because we haven’t had an event like this in PE.
“The heart of our business is community and there’s been so much doom and gloom going around of late – most recently loadshedding.
“So we’re just here to spread some Christmas cheer and part of our mission for the past two years has been to choose local, so the tree actually encompasses that campaign very much.
“It’s a tree that was locally manufactured [in KwaZulu-Natal] and all of the parts that have been used to make it have been locally sourced and made,” she said.
The tree, which is about 13m high and seven metres wide, was assembled by a team from Durban and has been placed in the Bayworld parking area.
It will dominate the city’s beachfront area until January 3.
“It was in Durban two years ago, in Nelspruit last year and this year it’s Port Elizabeth’s turn,” SPAR Eastern Cape sponsorships and events manager Alan Stapleton said.
“It’s a massive construction which took 4,148 hours to make and contains more than 74,000 LED light bulbs.
“It required 2,000m of cable and 110 cans of gold paint to complete the construction.”
Visitors who would like to see the tree will not be disappointed should loadshedding hit.
“We’ve got a generator so if loadshedding happens, let it happen, but nothing is going to stop us from spreading some Christmas cheer,” Shadrach said.