Community Invited to Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony

Published on November 15, 2023

Tree Lighting Ceremony in Bronson Park.

The City of Kalamazoo will host its Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony on Friday, November 24 in Bronson Park (200 S. Rose St). Festivities are planned from 5 to 7 p.m., with the lighting of the park at approximately 6 p.m.

Activities will include music and dance performances, a kids craft tent provided by Kalamazoo Valley Museum, live painting by local artist Patrick Hershberger, a sElfie station, a Grinch tent with photos, and visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus. There will also be an opportunity for guests to share what they are most grateful for this holiday season, with a chance to be featured on Kzoo Parks social media channels.

The Holly Jolly Trolley will be running during and after the event from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. The trolley will continue to run throughout the holiday season offering free rides through Downtown.

Hot chocolate will be available courtesy of Kalamazoo First Presbyterian Church. Food and refreshments will also be available for purchase from food trucks and vendors lined up along the park on South Street including The Incredible Kettle, Scott’s Pig Roast, Teresa’s Kitchen, Coffee Rescue, and Tasty Treats by Cree.

The event will be emceed by Von Washington Jr., the Executive Director of Community Relations for the Kalamazoo Promise. Dylan Tolbert, an R&B soul artist, will start a series of performances at 5 p.m. followed by Jay Balden, the 2023 Youth & Teen Talent Show winner, at 5:10, and the Kalamazoo Concert Band brass choir at 5:15. The Mayor, City Commissioners, City Manager, and Santa will then read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’ and flip the switch to light up Bronson Park, officially marking the start of the holiday season in Kalamazoo.

After the park has been lit, performances will resume. The Mayor will join Kalamazoo Civic Carolers shortly after 6 p.m., followed by holiday duo Cori Somers and Carolyn Koebel, at around 6:10, and the Trinity Prep Center dance team at 6:30.

Every year, the City of Kalamazoo welcomes everyone in the community to celebrate the holiday season and the diverse traditions that are a part of life in Kalamazoo at the Tree Lighting Ceremony. City records suggest that this Kalamazoo tradition over started 90 years ago, with City Commission Meeting Minutes from 1937 mentioning the “Sixth Annual Tree Ceremony”.

 South Street will be partially closed during the event and open only to the Holly Jolly Trolley, event staff, and event entertainment, with one lane open for Civic Theatre show attendees. This event is free, and all community members are welcome.

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