It’s that time of year again – Davis’ annual holiday tree lighting is today, along the E Street Plaza in downtown.
Events will include the Children’s Parade march, singing by the choir, guest greetings by Santa and Mrs. Claus and the arrival of the “The Grinch” at the Varsity Theatre.
“This event provides a sense of community and tradition for Davis, with the tree lighting event going back at least 40 years,” said Bob Bowen, public relations manager for the city of Davis. “It gives families a chance to enjoy a children’s parade and tree lighting in a downtown, small town atmosphere.”
The Davis Food Co-op is hosting the Children’s Parade, beginning at 6 p.m. on 620 G St. All who participate in the parade will receive glow necklaces or candles with flame guards from the Co-op. Those participating in the parade can utilize the free public parking garages on Fourth and G Streets.
During the parade, the Davis Children’s Tree Lighting Choir will perform at 6 p.m. Davis Mayor Ruth Asmundson will then light the holiday tree at 6:30 p.m. in the E Street Plaza. Both the Cal Aggie Marching Band-uh and the Davis High School Madrigals will perform.
Around 6:45 p.m., Santa and Mrs. Claus will welcome visitors at Alphabet Moon Toys and Treasures on F Street until 8:15 p.m. Throughout the downtown area, residents can expect to see other holiday characters dressed up to greet community members.
At 6:40, 7:20 and 8 p.m., the Varsity Theatre on Second Street will provide free screenings of the film “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” Free horse-drawn carriage rides will also be available between 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., operating every 10 minutes.
With the holidays right around the corner, the Co-op will be accepting cash donations that will directly benefit the Wallace-Vannucci Shelter Program. The city also requests that each participant donate a canned or non-perishable food item that will be distributed to the Yolo County Food Bank.
This year, the Davis Downtown Business Association is hosting a new activity called the Downtown Davis Charitable Holiday Tree Program. Residents can bid on themed tabletop holiday trees in stores, where all profits will be donated to the fifteen local non-profit organizations taking part.
Joy Cohan, director of the DDBA, said that the city would also be starting a year-round Downtown Davis Gift-card Program that includes over 200 local businesses. On Dec. 10 and 17 the downtown area will be holding extended hour shopping events called “share the joy.” Stores will stay open until 9 p.m. with relaxed parking enforcement on all Saturdays in December, as well as on Jan. 2.
“This is to make it a relaxed environment for shopping and to encourage people to come out and spend money and go green in doing so,” Cohan said. “People want to do the right thing and shopping locally and buying local products are some of the easiest green things one can do. The extended shopping hours and the gift card program really help us competitively in the Davis community.”
SAMANTHA BOSIO can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.