Annual Downtown Detroit Tree Lighting Ceremony kicks off the holiday season on Nov. 20

Special guest Detroit legend Smokey Robinson, US Figure Skating Champion Karen Chen, and comedian Tim Allen

DETROIT – The Downtown Detroit Partnership (DDP), WXYZ-Ch. 7 and the DTE Foundation are proud to usher in the spirit of the holiday season with one of Detroit’s most cherished traditions through a reimagined 17th Annual Detroit Tree Lighting experience. Detroiters throughout our region can watch WXYZ’s “Light Up the Season” Tree Lighting special at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 20 from the comfort and safety of their homes. This year Santa is limiting his travel for the safety of all good boys and girls and will make a special on-air appearance from the North Pole to help us flip the switch on 19,000 lights on the Michigan-grown tree. The Tree Lighting event will be pre-recorded and not held in-person this year at Campus Martius Park.

This year’s broadcast will host a spectacular lineup of talent and entertainment, including performances by Motown great Smokey Robinson, U.S. Champion American figure skater and Olympian Karen Chen, actor and comedian Tim Allen, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, ice dancing duo Christina Carreira and Anthony Ponomarenko and The Salvation Army, among many others.

“Detroit’s Annual Tree Lighting is Detroit’s most cherished tradition for families across the state of Michigan, and officially kicks off the start of the 2020 holiday season in Downtown Detroit,” said Robert Gregory, Chief Planning and Public Spaces Officer at the Downtown Detroit Partnership. “Now more than ever before, we need joy, comfort and hope this holiday season and this year will be the best show yet. While Detroit’s Annual Tree Lighting will be virtual, we encourage families and friends to join us Downtown throughout the season to ice skate, shop, dine and support the Downtown community.”

Even though the public won’t be able to gather together for Detroit's Annual Tree Lighting as in years past, the tradition and holiday celebrations continue from November through March with a strong emphasis on visitor safety. DDP is preparing to deliver a re-envisioned and unique lineup of holiday and winter events and activations – all outdoors – with the whole family in mind.

“Detroit’s Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony and Light Up Beacon Park are some of our favorite Detroit traditions. This year, we’ll stay at home with a cup of hot cocoa and our families to enjoy the Tree Lighting,” said Lynette Dowler, VP of Public Affairs, DTE Energy and President of the Foundation. “We then invite families from across Southeast Michigan and beyond to come Downtown this season to safely experience the dazzling holiday lights and hand-crafted ornaments on Beacon Park’s Children’s Tree, make memories, support local businesses and more.”

Skating at the Rink at Campus Martius Park, award-winning holiday lighting, along with fantastic retailers and restaurants all come together this season to make a perfect “staycation” with no shortage of opportunities to support local businesses.

Holiday shoppers are encouraged to take advantage of all that Downtown’s small businesses and restaurants have to offer in the safest manner possible. Physical-distancing guidelines, required mask wearing and other preventative COVID-19 safety measures remain in place.

Michigan’s favorite outdoor ice rink will open to the public Friday, Nov. 13, right in the heart of Downtown. The Rink at Campus Martius Park is the premier family-friendly outdoor skating rink in Michigan. Situated on Woodward Avenue, the Rink offers one of the most beautiful skating experiences in the country and continues to be a top destination for Detroit’s magical winter season. The Rink is open seven days a week, including holidays, through March 7, 2021.

Visitors can purchase Rink tickets online at DowntownDetroitParks.com. Affordable and convenient parking options, only steps away from the Rink, can be reserved in advance at www.parkwhiz.com. Masks are required to skate, and current capacity ensures enough space to physically distance from others by 6-feet or more.

A full season of winter events in Beacon Park, Cadillac Square, Campus Martius Park, Capitol Park and Grand Circus Park will be announced soon. “Winter in the Parks,” which runs through early January, brings winter fun and inclusivity to the broader Downtown Detroit community, promoting connectivity between the parks and creating warm, inviting spaces all season long.

Detroit’s Children’s Tree will appear in Beacon Park as the centerpiece of Light Up Beacon Park on Friday, Nov. 20 from 6 to 9 p.m. Enjoy a festive holiday celebration featuring larger-than-life light displays, hot chocolate, photo opportunities, food trucks and live streaming of Detroit’s Annual Tree Lighting broadcast at 7:30 p.m. The evening will kick off with the lighting of the 20-foot Children’s Tree, adorned with ornaments decorated by kids and families from the city of Detroit, as well as a selection of children from community-based programs. At 6 p.m. a selection of students known as “Beacon Buddies” will help illuminate the tree. A full list of activities hosted at Beacon Park is available online at DTEBeaconPark.com.

Primarily funded by private contributions, the Downtown Detroit Partnership is a nonprofit organization that cares for the Downtown network of parks and public spaces, tending to the largest and smallest details of its programming, operations and restoration. Caring for the Downtown Detroit Parks is no small task and, more than ever before, the community is relying on DDP to provide safe, clean and welcoming outdoor spaces for the physical and mental well-being of all Detroiters. In this unprecedented time of need and responsibility, donations are being accepted via phone (text DETROIT to 41444) and online at DowntownDetroitParks.com.





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