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Merry and Bright: Annual Regions Center Holiday Lighting Returns

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The annual lighting began in the 1970s when the building that is now the Regions Center was shared by First National Bank of Birmingham and Southern Natural Gas. Regions Bank has kept the tradition going. (REGIONS)
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The Regions Center lights are visible across the city, from Southside condos, to vistas on Red Mountain, to nearby Interstates and even to passengers on planes about to land at the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport. (REGIONS)

As in years past, Regions Bank  transformed the company’s headquarters tower in Birmingham into a brilliant holiday display.

On Friday, red, green and white lights installed above the windows surrounding the 30-story tower were illuminated in the forms of Christmas trees, a massive wreath and a giant stocking. The lights come on just before sunset each evening beginning the day after Thanksgiving, and the nightly illumination continues until Jan. 1.

“The lighting of the Regions Center is a tradition going back more than 40 years, and Regions Bank is proud to keep the tradition alive, especially during a year in which so much has changed,” said Joe Holcombe, senior facilities project manager in Regions’ Corporate Real Estate division. “In recent weeks, crews have been installing and testing lights, working hard to get Birmingham’s tallest holiday display ready for the season. As the lights come on this evening, we wish everyone a happy holiday season and a brighter new year to come.”

The Regions Center lights are visible across the city, from vistas along Red Mountain, to nearby Interstate highways, to planes landing at the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport. While there have been some upgrades to the lights themselves over the years, the way the displays are created is much the same as it was when the tradition began in the 1970s.

Crews equipped with diagrams of the Christmas trees, the stocking and the wreath work their way through the tower over the course of several days and nights each fall. They install gel “sleeves” over lights that are in each window from the fifth floor to the top of the building. Together, those sleeves create the colors needed to illuminate each side of the building.

Testing takes place during the early-morning hours in the days before Thanksgiving to ensure that each light is working properly. Then, the lights are set to automatically come on around sunset each evening beginning the day after Thanksgiving.

Over the years, the Regions Center has also been illuminated to celebrate the Regions Tradition golf tournament, as well as the 1996 Summer Olympics, when Birmingham hosted Olympic soccer games. Additionally, the building was illuminated in a patriotic display during the Gulf War in 1991.

Additional information on the history of the display – and pictures showing how the displays come together – can be found in the article linked here on Regions’ news website.