Santa’s coming to town tonight at tree-lighting gala downtown

The annual, downtown Wells Fargo Tree Lighting will take place tonight in front of Wells Fargo Bank, 359 Main St.

The event will begin at 5 p.m. with holiday music performed by The Tonettes. The tree and other downtown lights will go on, and Santa will arrive at about 5:45 p.m.

The intersection of Fourth and Main streets will be closed from 5 to 6 tonight.

Parking is free in the public parking garage on Rood Avenue during the event. Parking will be free in the garage and at downtown parking spots with a red bag over them between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.

The tree lighting ceremony traditionally took place the day after Thanksgiving but was moved up a week last year. Downtown businesses saw “great results” from the earlier date, according to Kathy Dirks, marketing director for the Downtown Development Authority.

“It helped us compete with other shopping areas in town,” Dirks said.

Free carriage rides, a strolling Santa, holiday music and extended hours were offered at some downtown businesses on Thursday evenings and Sunday afternoons last year. The Downtown Development Authority decided to change that this year and offer the same entertainment from noon to 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

Free carriage rides and Santa will appear the night of Dec. 9 as well, when the Spirit of Christmas Walk will take place in downtown on Main Street. The event will last from 5:30 to 9 p.m. and feature carolers roaming the street and performances by barbershop quartets, choirs, jazz bands, clowns, poets, dancers and drama troupes. Lighted rickshaw rides will be offered, and stores that remain open will offer complimentary hot drinks and refreshments.


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