Light Up Downtown: Third time’s the charm. (Truly, it is!)

Saturday, Dec. 1, 5:00 - 6:35 p.m.
While you were figuring out what to do with that leftover Turkey, some folks downtown have been quite busy stringing more than 40,000 lights on the city’s Christmas tree that will be the center of attention on Saturday, December 1 when they throw the switch to kick off our annual holiday season in Downtown Grand Rapids.

The tree lighting event will take place at Rosa Parks Circle at 6:30 p.m sharp (so don’t be late). 

But that is hardly the start of the festivities at this year’s Light Up Downtown, which includes an appearance by the City of Grand Rapids’ Mayor Rosalynn Bliss, City Manager Mark Washington, and 100.5 FM’s Andy Rent from 100.5 The River, because it actually begins across the river at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum at 5:00 p.m.

A quick overview of the schedule of events:
  • 5:00 p.m. Start at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum with the Breton Village Holiday Train, live reindeer, holiday songs performed by Grand Rapids Caroling Company, and so much more.
  • 5:30 p.m. Walk East to the Light Up Ah-Nab-Awen Park, where Santa will be taking photos with kids of all ages and later join in the drum line parade led by Genesis Percussion.
  • 6:00 p.m. Arrive at Rosa Parks Circle for all the festivities before the Mayor arrives in her horse-drawn carriage to light up the tree at 6:30 p.m.
And no worries if you cannot make it to the actual lighting,  because our local NBC affiliate, WOOD TV8, will be broadcasting live from the event.

Also at Light Up Downtown you can experience the many diverse cultures of our city who participate in observing this holiday tradition with contributions from the African-American (Grand Rapids African American Museum and Archives), Italian (Flo's Collection), Hispanic (Hispanic Center of Western Michigan), German (Edelweiss Club Grand Rapids), Irish, Jewish (Chabad House of Western Michigan), African, Asian-American (West Michigan Asian American Association Inc), Polish (Polish Heritage Society of Grand Rapids, MI) and Mexican (Mexican Heritage Association) communities. The Ford Presidential Museum is also offering guided walking tours as a part of the festivities. Register for this free touring event in advance, here.
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