Santa Heading to Traverse City on Saturday for Downtown Tree Lighting

“We have our annual tree lighting ceremony, light parade, Santa’s arrival (Saturday) November 19th.” – Abby Taylor

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, and not just because of all of the snow we’re getting. You and your family can get into the holiday spirit at the annual lighting of the downtown Christmas tree in Traverse City.

This year’s tree is a Blue Spruce from Creekside Community Church. It’s 40 feet tall and weighs in at 3,800 pounds, not counting the 1,600 lights that are on it! Santa has a busy schedule, but he will be on hand to flip the switch Saturday night.

Here’s the schedule: Front Street closes to traffic at 4:30 p.m., and the fun starts at 5:30 p.m. with caroling and music from TC Central High School’s Choral-Aires. It all leads up to Santa’s arrival and the tree lighting right at 6pm.

“We are getting super excited for all of the festivities downtown,” she says. “We’re excited to bring back the tradition of having music up at the stage right at the tree. Then being able to have Santa light the tree before the parade starts. So get down there, make sure you get a good spot and be able to enjoy with everyone,” Abby Taylor, the DDA Downtown Experience Coordinator, says.

After the tree lighting is the light parade, with 36 different entries. That includes nonprofits, local businesses, and fire trucks and city vehicles all decked out in lights for a ride down Front Street.

“Come on down, get some hot cocoa, shop beforehand, and then spread out along route and be able to see a really fun parade,” Taylor says.

Groups include the Traverse City library, Preston Feather, the Pit Spitters, Up North Pride, and the United Way, just to name a few.

With Front Street closed, you can park in the Hardy parking deck, the Old Town deck, or on adjacent streets. Taylor says pay attention to street signs because some of the one way streets are now open to two-way traffic.

“We have an easier way to get downtown. We have Old Town parking deck (that) is going to be free all day. We have different parking structures. So keep an eye out for those signs. But we have traffic moving a little differently now,” she says.

After the parade, you and the kids can visit Santa over at the new Civic Square. It’s across from the downtown Post Office at Union and State streets. Santa will be there Saturday night and throughout the holiday season.

Check out the schedule and other details here.