Celebrate the Holiday Season at Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony

Published on November 10, 2022

The City of Kalamazoo will host its Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony on Friday, November 25 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, crafts provided by Kalamazoo Valley Museum, reindeer from GG Reindeer Farm, live painting with local artist Patrick Hershberger, a sElfie station, visits with Kalamazoo Husky Club, a Grinch tent with photos, and visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus. There will also be opportunity for guests to share what they are most grateful for this holiday season, with a chance to be featured on the Kzoo Parks Facebook page.

The Children’s Nature Playscape next to Bronson Park will be open from 4 to 5:30 p.m. and will be handing out giveaways while supplies last. The Holly Jolly Trolley will also 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 rides through Downtown.

Hot chocolate will be available, courtesy of First Presbyterian Church and the Kalamazoo Civic Theatre. Food and refreshments will also be available for purchase from food trucks lined up along the park on South Street including Teresa’s Kitchen, Coffee Rescue, Weller Barbecue, Incredible Kettle, and On the Roll. The nearby Civic Theatre will be open as a warming station.

Yolonda Lavender, a soul-based artist will start a series of performances at 5 p.m. followed by the Kalamazoo Concert Band, 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 with the alternative indie duo, Ivysea, followed by local dance team Trinity Prep Center, at 6:30. The Executive Director of Community Relations for the Kalamazoo Promise, Von Washington Jr., will close out the show, and activities in the park and holiday music will continue until 7 p.m.

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 started 90 years ago, with City Commission Meeting Minutes from 1937 mentioning the “Sixth Annual Tree Ceremony”.

South Street and St. Johns Place will be closed for the event and open only to the Holly Jolly Trolley, event staff, and event entertainment.

Attendees should remain cautious and follow CDC and local health official guidelines to protect themselves and the community from COVID-19. This event is free, and all community members are welcome.

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