The Detroit Tree Lighting Ceremony, presented by DTE Energy Foundation, celebrated its 10-year anniversary on Friday, Nov. 22 at Campus Martius Park.
This year, as is customary, thousands of people turned out to watch the tree become aglow for the first time this season.
The ceremony featured rink performances by Olympic athlete and international figure skating champion, Kimberly Meissner, with supplemental performances from the Detroit and Arctic Figure Skating Clubs. All visitors were able to take carriage rides through the city at the price of $5. In addition, children from all over were able to visit and take photos with Santa Claus in the Compuware Atrium.
A multitude of musical performances engaged guests as they prepared for the big moment, including the Michigan Philharmonic Brass Quintet and Michigan Opera Theatre Soloist, Bradley Wish, among others. The festivities lasted from 4 p.m. until midnight; the tree lighting took place at 7:30 p.m.
The tree this year, a 60-foot Norway spruce, nestled on the top of the Campus Matrius fountain, was harvested from Sherman, MI, according to a report by Mlive.com. Fans cheered thunderously as the tree was lit with 19 thousand LED lights.
“The tree lighting is by far one of my favorite events that takes place in Campus Martius Park,” said Shelby Caverly, tree lighting ceremony production coordinator, “Being able to help spread cheer to this spectacular city is extremely amazing to witness. My favorite part is watching thousands of Detroiters celebrate downtown.”
Cadillac Square was lined with dozens of market and food vendors including a Beer Garden and a “Family Fun Tent,” sponsored by the Salvation Army. In the wake of the recently announced bankruptcy, this type of activity is exactly what the city needs to remind people just how much Detroit has to offer.
A $10 donation was necessary for admittance to the preferred viewing section in the rink-side lounge during the tree lighting ceremony; the proceeds benefited Campus Martius Park. However, businesses in the surrounding area also reaped the benefits of having so many people pour in the heart of the city.
“It’s so great to see people coming together to celebrate something positive in the city,” said Rachel Ezell, who was at Campus Martius for her second tree lighting ceremony, “This is exactly the type of thing that helps everyone see what we already know about Detroit: it’s beautiful.”
The VIP area offered patrons an opportunity to be the first to skate on the newly finished rink and front-row seating to the main events of the night, including up close and personal views of the twinkling tree.