The highly anticipated Lighting of the Lawn marked the first time the public was welcomed back to the Lawn for the annual event since 2019, due to the pandemic. It was evident by the size of the crowd that people were ready for a return to normal.

After a countdown, the lights on the Rotunda popped on as students filled up their phones with dramatic pictures and videos of the event. (Photo by Erin Edgerton, University Communications)

Hundreds of students and community members crowded onto the Lawn, braving near-freezing temperatures for the annual ceremony. For student groups, it was the first time to perform for such a large crowd in three years because of the pandemic. They made the most of the opportunity.

The Rotunda, here glowing in a purple hue, was the center of attention for the night. UVA facilities workers spend weeks ahead of the event getting all the lights in place. (Photo by Sanjay Suchak, University Communications)

Each year, a collection of student-picked University leaders reads a holiday-themed poem. Usually boisterous, the tone was different at this year’s 21st annual event.

“Three stars glow bright, above our heads tonight. Devin, Lavel and D’Sean, providing our light,” read Julie Caruccio, who also serves as UVA’s mounted Cavalier, riding her steed, Sabre, into Scott Stadium before every home football game.

Once the student performances were complete, the massive crowd participated in a 10-9-8 … countdown to the grand illumination of tens of thousands of LED lights strung around the Academical Village. It was capped off by a grand lightshow, cast on the Rotunda.

For the first part of the ceremony, student groups performed just in front of the Rotunda, still darkened. Organizers threw the switch near the end of the event. (Photo by Erin Edgerton, University Communications)

The Academical Village will be lit until the end of the month.

This was the first Lighting of the Lawn opened to the community since 2019. The sheer number of attendees made for memorable photos. (Photo by Dan Addison, University Communications)

See the original story and more photos at UVA Today.

The Lighting of the Lawn committee partnered with the School of Architecture’s Fabrication Lab to install lights illuminating Davis’, Chandler’s and Perry’s respective jersey numbers, 1, 15, and 41. (Photo by Erin Edgerton, University Communications)