A Community Celebration: Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Nov. 29

A Community Celebration: Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Nov. 29

(This story originally appeared in The Smart Reader, November 21st.)

KENOSHA- It’s the day after Thanksgiving. Turkey has been consumed. Football teams have been cheered. Everyone is a bit restless after all that family “together time.” It’s time to get out of the house and find some entertainment.

Consider joining us for the annual Lightin’ Up celebration downtown on Nov. 29, which kicks off with the lighting of the City Christmas tree at Fountain Plaza outside the Kenosha Public Museum. Then, stick around downtown to ride the streetcar and enjoy specials and promotions at downtown businesses. Take a spin on the ice rink outside City Hall, with free skate rentals courtesy of the Mayor’s Youth Commission.

Musical entertainment begins at 4 p.m. outside the museum, featuring local musicians performing as “Candy Eisenhauer and Ivy Ford Acoustic Christmas.”  Ford, a blues artist and Kenosha resident, performs regularly in Chicago. Eisenhauer, also of Kenosha, has performed with many bands throughout her rock ‘n roll career, most recently with the “Send Help” band. Everyone is encouraged to participate in a sing-along as part of the festivities. 

Look for the Frost Queen and Snow Princess mingling with the crowd, along with Mrs. Claus. Warm up with some hot chocolate, sold on-site by the Friends of the Museum.

Mayor John Antaramian and Santa Claus will lead the crowd in the count down to the tree lighting at 5 p.m. Santa will be available to visit with people from 5:30-8 p.m. at the Rhode Center for the Arts, 514 56th St.  Visits with Santa are free and photos are welcome.

Mrs. Claus will help children write letters to Santa at Actor’s Craft, 4900 Seventh Ave. from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Letters will be deposited in her special North Pole Mailbox. 

This year’s Christmas tree was donated by Kenosha resident Keith Labrecque, who says he annually decorated the 30-foot-tall blue spruce at Christmas time until the tree became too tall. Each fall the City parks department harvests a Christmas tree donated by a local citizen. Twelve hundred colored bulbs illuminate the City Christmas tree, and the museum campus is beautifully decorated as well.

The City Christmas tree lighting has become an annual tradition for many local families and visitors. Previously held in early December, the tree lighting program moved in 2012 to Black Friday – the day after Thanksgiving – in conjunction with the popular “Lightin’ Up” festivities in downtown Kenosha. The musical entertainment leading up to the tree lighting program re-located to an outdoor stage in 2016, due to the large crowds that outgrew the performance space inside the Kenosha Public Museum. The Kenosha Public Museum and Civil War Museum are both open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Nov. 29. People are encouraged to arrive early and explore the museum exhibits prior to the tree lighting. 

Following the tree lighting, ride the streetcar free of charge until 9 p.m., courtesy of Downtown Kenosha Inc. and the City of Kenosha. The Lightin’ Up celebration continues downtown with family activities, live entertainment and special promotions at Downtown businesses until 9 p.m. Vote for your favorite holiday display in the Downtown Business Decorating Contest.  For further details about specials, entertainment and activities, visit downtownkenosha.org.

By Kris Kochman

Kochman is the Community Relaitions Liaison at City of Kenosha. Tune in to Happenings Q&A on Tuesday, November 26th at 1 p.m. when Kris rejoins the show. Find us on your radio dial at AM1050 WLIP or streaming live online at www.wlip.com.

Downtown Kenosha, Inc. Executive Director welcomes all to the neighborhood this holiday season

“I’m so excited to be working with the City of Kenosha for another great Lightin’ Up Downtown Kenosha,” Downtown Kenosha Inc. Executive Director Alexandra Binanti-Robinson said in a recent interview with The Smart Reader. “There is so much going on! In addition to the events happening near the museum campus, we have a storefront decorating contest throughout the Downtown businesses, we expect at least 30 participants who will have amazing displays in their front windows. We encourage all of the visitors to Downtown to visit them and then vote for their favorite at downtownkenosha.org.”

“Many of our businesses Downtown will be offering up holiday specials. For example, Pine Blossom and Authentique will be offering special discounts, Elisie Mae’s will feature cookie decorating, Sazzy B’s will have holiday drink specials, Actor’s Craft will have Mrs. Claus on hand to help write letters to Santa, and many more.”

Visit their website, downtown kenosha.org for a full list of participating businesses and events.

The day after Lightin’ Up, Saturday, November 30th, is another special day in Downtown Kenosha with Shop Small Saturday, nationally sponsored by American Express. 

“We are a designated American Express community, so participating shops will be receiving some promotional goodies. Many will be hosting open houses and holiday parties, with discounts and other specials.”

“It’s very important to recognize our businesses Downtown and the holiday season is the perfect time to come down and support these great places.”

Looking to the future, Binanti-Robinson would like to remind everyone to save the date for the Snow Daze Festival on February 8th, 2020.

“The theme is going to be outer space this year. At Veteran’s Memorial Park, we have our ice carvers, kids activities, and a walking path of 30-40 businesses who participate in the sculptures.”