Journey to the Crown: The Experience of Lighting up Bridgeport

By Kaitlin Gates on December 06, 2012 from Journey to the Crown via

The 8th Annaul Light-Up Night in my hometown of Bridgeport was Thursday, November 29. I have attended the event in the past, but this year was extra special because I was given the honor of lighting the tree! I can safely say this is one of the most anticipated events of the year in the community and is a wonderful night of celebrating the holiday season. Main Street is close for the evening and businesses of downtown Bridgeport open their doors and offer hot chocolate, snacks, and other items to all who come out for this event. It is great to see how this event has grown over the years.
Prior to the lighting, I arrived at the Benedum Civic Center and visited with friends from the community until it was time to make my way to the balcony for the big event. Joining me on the balcony were friends of the area, Mr. Bradley Ford, Mr. Mark Bonamico, and our Mayor Mr. Jim Christie. I was given a chance to say a few words, then asked choirs from local schools to lead the crowd with some of our favorite songs to kick off the holiday season. After that came the moment we had all been waiting for. Starting with a countdown from 10, I pulled the switch and the tree was lit! Directly following the tree lighting was a wonderful fireworks display. It was definitely one of the best Light-Up Nights to date! 
After the tree was lit, I was supposed to be singing some of my favorite Christmas carols, but I didn't make it to my station before it shut down! It was so nice visiting with friend I hadn't seen in a while and taking pictures that I lost track of time! This evening will truly be one of my most favorite appearances for the year. Hearing the applause and cheers over the crowd when I was introduced was so humbling. I truly believe I wouldn't be where I am today without my community and the support everyone has shown me. I am so proud to declare I am from Bridgeport, WV on ABC!

Thank you so much to everyone who made this night so meaningful to me. I appreciate the invite and honor of lighting the tree from Mrs. Lisa Lang and the warm introduction from Mr. Ford. Also, thanks to the city of Bridgeport and all of my friends within the community for your support and believing in me!  

As mentioned at the tree lighting, YOU can help my dream of becoming Miss America come true! Here is the link to vote for me, so please take a second to vote and share this with your friends.

Cast your vote via one (1) of the following two (2) methods:

1) Visit


2) Visit the "Video Contest" tab at 

Connect Bridgeport
© 2018