Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin will host the 78th Anniversary of the State Capitol Lighting Ceremony. This year’s event will be hosted by North Little Rock Police Officer Tommy Norman. Officer Tommy Norman has been a police officer with the North Little Rock Police Department since 1998; in that time, Tommy has become a national star for his dedication as a police officer and as a leading voice for community policing. Tommy’s social media following of over one million people allows him to share his experiences and the positive impact he has on his community. He has been featured on The Today Show, Good Morning America, Fox News, CNN, and in The New York Times.
For the remainder of his term, Secretary of State Mark Martin has chosen to honor those who have dedicated themselves to public service at each year’s lighting ceremony. This year, we honor firefighters. The 2016 Capitol Christmas ornament features the Arkansas Fallen Firefighter’s Memorial. Next year, the ceremony will honor police officers, and for Secretary Martin’s final Capitol Lighting Ceremony, we will honor those who are serving, or have served, in the military.
This annual event is special for all Arkansans. The tradition of lighting the Capitol began in 1938, when then Secretary of State “Crip” Hall began this time-honored tradition as a gift to children at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. He himself suffered from polio as a child and wanted to help lift the spirits of children suffering from life threatening illnesses. Not only did he lift their spirits, but as a leader, he showed empathy, kindness, and joy to these children in their time of need.
In honor of this tradition, we continue to light the entire Capitol Building so it will be visible from Arkansas Children’s Hospital. Representatives from Arkansas Easter Seals will assist with the lighting.
Weather permitting, the Capitol Lighting will be followed by fireworks. After the fireworks, the public is invited to come into the Capitol for activities and to see all of the Christmas decorations. The Arkansas Gospel Mass Choir will perform on the second floor of the rotunda. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be on hand to see all of the children in his workshop, also in the second floor rotunda. Author Carol Dabney will be reading “Twas the Mouse Before Christmas” in the Old Supreme Court Room.
Come join us for a great time of holiday fun at your Arkansas State Capitol this Saturday evening, December 3rd, starting at 5:30 pm.
If you cannot join us this Saturday, the Capitol will be open to the public during the holiday season during regular business hours Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm, and on weekends and holidays from 10 am to 3 pm.