Downtown Tree Lighting Kicks Off the Holiday Season

Figure skating, holiday shopping, and lights galore

Downtown Tree LightingIf you’re looking to start the holiday season before Thanksgiving, tomorrow, Nov. 16, is the 15th annual tree lighting in Beacon Park and Campus Martius Park. Beginning at 5 p.m., metro Detroiters will gather around the 60-foot Norwegian Spruce, a donation from Plymouth’s Tonya and Curtis Duffina. Students hailing from 15 Detroit schools covered the tree with more than 19,000 multi-colored lights and ornaments for the ceremony.

The lighting, which will begin at 7:45 p.m., kicks off a slew of holiday events in downtown Detroit that are open to the public. Two live performances — one from Detroit’s own Grammy award-winning gospel artist CeCe Winans — interactive light installations, outdoor fire pits, selfies with Santa, and a live stream of the tree inside the heated Winter Lodge tent, are scheduled for the event. Olympic figure skaters Alex and Maia Shibutani will also perform on Campus Martius Park’s ice skating rink, and craft beer, wine, and spirits will be available for purchase for those looking to warm up.

The light show continues onto Woodward and Jefferson Avenues where more than 320 lamps poles are wrapped in lights that are supposed resemble the Spirit of Detroit’s hand. French lighting company Blachère Illumination has also installed a life-size sleigh and reindeer display, along with a 40-foot Detroit sign that changes colors and is worthy of an Instagram post.

Downtown Detroit’s winter market will also be opening with more than 16 Michigan vendors offering an array of products including jewelry from Ashley Gold, hand-painted bon bons from Guilt Chocolates, body care products and pure essential oils from Tiani Body Care Natural, and more. Free shuttles between Beacon Park and Campus Martius Park will be running every 15 minutes from 4:30 p.m. until midnight.

Related: Fruitcake Doesn’t Have To Be a Holiday Punchline