Long-standing tradition Light Up the Lake returns to campus

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Scarlet and Grace Notes A Capella sings “Hang on Sloopy” during the Light Up the Lake event Thursday, Dec. 2. Credit: Gabe Haferman | Assistant Photo Editor

The Mirror Lake tree-lighting tradition, Light Up the Lake, is returning a bit earlier than expected this year.

Light Up the Lake, a campus holiday tradition where approximately 60,000 lights are strung up in the trees surrounding Mirror Lake, was started in the early 2000s by Ohio Staters, Inc., a service-based student organization. It will host this year’s event alongside The Ohio State University Alumni Association. The first night took place Thursday and will take place again Friday from 6-8 p.m. at Mirror Lake.

Lauren Luffy, a member of the association, said the event has shifted its focus from just students to entire Buckeye families since 2019, which will be the case this year as well .

“This has been established as a tradition for students on campus over the years, and we are thrilled to be able to extend that to our alumni family,” Luffy said. “Many of our alums participated as students and are now able to share the tradition with their own families. ”

Austin Cool, a fourth-year in biophysics and a member of the Ohio Staters , said Light Up the Lake is a festive and engaging event for spectators of all ages, and he hopes the event will continue to bring holiday spirit to the Ohio State community.

There are plenty of activities people can enjoy in addition to the light show, Cool said, such as photos with ice sculptures and a surprise visit from Brutus Buckeye and the Ohio State cheerleaders. He said there will also be performances from student organizations such as The Club Dance Team, Jump Rope Club, Origins Dance Team and Scarlet and Grace Notes A Capella.

“Light Up the Lake is a powerful way to maintain the Buckeye spirit through the dark days of winter,” Cool said. “With the days getting shorter and winter finals creeping over the horizon, LUTL is there to help lift spirits and get students over the finish line after a tough semester.”

There will also be free snacks and beverages such as hot chocolate, tea and cookies. The purpose of this event is to celebrate the Christmas holiday and to create a positive holiday spirit, Luffy said.

Cool said the event will be held a week earlier this year to give community members more time to enjoy the lights, which will remain up until February. He said Light Up the Lake has previously been held around Dec. 8.

“ Ohio Staters, Inc. hopes that this event helps bring cheer to students during these dark days of winter before finals week begins,” Cool said. “The lights also help beautify the iconic Mirror Lake District during winter and bring life to the area.”

Tickets for Light Up the Lake are not required; however, attendees are required to register to attend, Luffy said. Attendees can register on the Alumni Association website .

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