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Tree Lighting Ceremony Canceled to Protect Community Health

To protect public health and slow the spread of COVID-19, the 2020 Tree Lighting Ceremony has been canceled. Lights and decorations will still be installed in Bronson Park and residents are encouraged to continue their holiday traditions with their families to ensure that safe distances can be maintained and health guidelines can be followed.

“The Tree Lighting Ceremony is a hallmark event in our community and a tradition for so many families,” explained Parks & Recreation Director Sean Fletcher. “We are disappointed to have to cancel the ceremony but protecting our community’s health and safety has to be our top priority. We hope everyone will still visit the park and enjoy the decorations, and we’re exploring ways to keep other aspects of the event available this year.”

Holiday lights and decorations will be installed and turned on Thanksgiving Day, including an additional $9,000 of new lights this year. The lights will not be turned on at a specific time to discourage any large gatherings that could violate COVID-19 guidelines.

Holiday lights will also be installed downtown on Michigan Avenue, the Kalamazoo Mall, and South Street by Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership.

“We won’t be able to gather as a community this year, but we can still celebrate the season with family and loved ones,” said Kalamazoo Mayor David Anderson. “Visit Bronson Park together, cherish the moments that are only possible during the holiday season, and celebrate the joy, gratitude, selflessness, and love that make this time of year so special.”

Although large public celebrations have been canceled to protect our community’s health, many traditions will continue with health precautions in place. Community members can still enjoy Santa’s Workshop, which will be located at the Radisson Plaza Hotel this year starting December 5. Downtown businesses will be participating in Winter Window Decorating, and the Kalamazoo Mall will be transformed into an outdoor Holiday Market on December 5, 12, and 19 from 4 to 8 p.m.

Community members are encouraged to support local businesses this Holiday season, on Small Business Saturday (November 28) and throughout the season. Local businesses have been hit hard by the pandemic and keeping holiday spending local supports the small businesses that make Kalamazoo unique.

“This is going to be a holiday season unlike any we have seen before,” continued Mayor Anderson. “Wear a mask when you go out, keep your hands clean, keep a distance from others, and stay home if you are sick. Let’s have a cheerful season and still be smart about the pandemic. Protect yourself, your loved ones, and our community.”

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City of Kalamazoo

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