Over 800 visitors to the Serpent Mound Park enjoyed unseasonably warm weather on Tuesday, Dec. 22 for the 12th annual Lighting of the Serpent winter solstice ceremony.
At sunset over one thousand luminary candles were lit around the serpentine effigy and the three conical mounds to mark the shortest day of the winter season. The lighting ceremony took approximately 45 minutes to complete. The park was open to the public from 6-8:00 pm. Jeffrey Wilson, James McKenzie and Delsey Wilson welcomed the visitors and spoke about winter solstice traditions around the world.
The family-friendly event, sponsored by the Friends of Serpent Mound (FOSM), has become a favorite holiday outing for many people in the southern Ohio area.
Guests carrying tapered candles walked the pathway around the ancient animal effigy mound, while others stood in line waiting to climb the park’s tower to view of the serpentine pattern of glowing candle lights.
The FOSM provided refreshments and sold raffle tickets. Winners of the evening’s raffle included: Diane McKenzie, winner of the Freakie Frogs Flute; Roy Willman, winner of a locally made rug; and Tammy Peach, winner of a singing bird clock.
The yearly event, which began in 2004 has raised awareness about the effigy mound, and consequently drawn thousands of visitors to the park, which is managed by the Arc of Appalachia organization.
In recent years the park has become a landscape in transition. Caretakers no longer mow the grassy area between the museum center and the effigy. The area has been returned to a more pristine, nature-friendly state.