Downtown Davis kicks off the holiday season in style tonight by honoring over 40 years of tradition with its annual tree-lighting ceremony and festive activities at the E Street Plaza.
“We’re very excited because it is our first year using a completely sustainable holiday tree,” said Kelly Stachowicz, deputy city manager of Davis. “In the past we’ve trucked one in from the Sierras, but this year’s tree was grown just outside the city limits near Putah creek.”
Mayor Don Saylor will light the tree in the E Street Plaza at 6:30 p.m. Members of the Davis city council will be present to partake in the community celebration.
Festivities for the evening will begin with the Children’s Candlelight Parade. The parade will depart from the Davis Food Co-op at 6 p.m. and end at E Street Plaza.
Parade participants of all ages are welcome and can meet at the Co-op at 6th and G Streets at 5:30 p.m. The Food Co-op is blocking off half of its parking lot to accommodate preparation.
“We’re donating candles and glow-sticks for children to carry during the parade,” said marketing coordinator of the Davis Food Co-op, Melanie Madden. “We encourage people to walk or bike in the parade but there’s also parking at the G Street parking garage.”
The Food Co-op will be accepting donations for the Wallace-Vannucci Shelter Program, which offers support for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence in Yolo County.
Other parade participants include the Cal Aggie Band-uh! and the Davis High School Madrigals and Jazz Choir. Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus characters will lead the parade.
Roads will be closed from 5 to 7:30 p.m. between Second and Third Street. Revelers are encouraged to dress warmly and prepare for the elements. The parade will continue rain or shine.
“The tree-lighting ceremony originally started as a way of placing the spotlight on the downtown area,” said Stachowicz. “We want to encourage people to shop downtown for the holidays and support our local businesses.”
Musical performances from the North Davis Intermediate Chorus will perform under the direction of Mandy Manville on the stage adjacent to the E Street Plaza at 6:00 p.m.
After the tree-lighting ceremony, How the Grinch Stole Christmas will be shown for free at the Varsity Theater. Showings are at 6:40, 7:20 and 8 p.m.
The Grace Valley Choir will be performing traditional holiday carols outside the theater from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
Free horse-drawn carriage rides will also be a fixture in this year’s event. Rides will be departing every 10 minutes from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. outside Alphabet Moon Toys and Treasures at 605 2nd St.
The Avid Reader at Second and G Streets will be hosting an intimate and free in-store concert with four local teen cellists, Cellos Galore, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
“Downtown is a year-round community gathering place, so it makes sense that it’s where the city and students come together to celebrate the holiday season,” said Joy Cohan, director of the Davis Downtown Business Association (DDBA).
“DDBA hopes shoppers will enjoy the activities and then return to make purchases during the more relaxed ‘Share the Joy’ extended-hours shopping nights on Dec. 9 and 16.”
The city expects several thousand residents to turn out for the event.
“This is such a great community event,” Stachowicz said. “It really gets everyone in the holiday spirit.”
CARLY HAASE can be reached at email@example.com.