UF community invited for Holiday Gator lighting celebration

Students, faculty, staff, families, and friends are invited to the “Lighting of the Holiday Gator” from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 30 on the lawn of the University Auditorium near the corner of Newell Drive and Union Road.

The Holiday Gator is the large, forged steel alligator sculpture (created by Gainesville artist, blacksmith, and UF College of the Arts alumna Leslie Tharp) that has been placed on the lawn in celebration of the holiday season each year since 2019.

UF President Ben Sasse will lead the countdown to the ceremonial lighting of the sculpture, which will glow with orange and blue LED lights throughout the remainder of the academic year (until Dec. 16).

“Cookies, hot chocolate, and — as far as we know — the only eight-foot-tall, forged steel, lighted gator on planet Earth," Sasse said. "Nothing says ‘it’s time for the good cheer of the holidays’ more than the lighting of the Holiday Gator.”

This year’s festivities will feature hot chocolate, apple cider, and other holiday treats, as well as performances by members of three UF student groups: the Gator Marching Band, the UF Sunshine Steelers, and the UF Concert Choir.

Blake Trauschke November 27, 2023