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Davis, California

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

City of Davis holds annual candlelight parade and tree lighting ceremony

The 42nd annual event showcased entertainment, speeches and Christmas spirit to bring the Davis community together 


By HANNAH SCHRADER —  city@theaggie.org


On Nov. 30 at 6 p.m., the city of Davis hosted its holiday candlelight parade and tree lighting ceremony at E Street Plaza.

This was the 42nd annual tree lighting ceremony in Davis with similar activities as previous years, but a longstanding and cherished Davis tradition nonetheless. The event is intended to bring local residents together and kick off the start of the holiday season, as the parade and tree lighting ceremony are normally held on either Dec. 1, give or take one day.

As one of the sponsors of the event, the candlelight parade started off at 6 p.m. in the Davis Food Co-op parking lot and ended at E Street Plaza. There were multiple street closures downtown as a result of the event, creating limited parking and encouraging residents to walk, bike or take the bus to participate.

The activities of the evening included: Varsity Theater’s free showings of the short film “Shrek the Halls,” holiday mascot characters, a Santa letter writing station, a photo opp station with Santa and carriage rides sponsored by the city.

Mayor Will Arnold made the opening announcements and did the countdown to the tree lighting. The tree was backlit blue with multi-colored lights and sat across from the stage on which the performances took place. Santa’s sleigh was adjacent to the tree, and the entire E Street Plaza was brimming with holiday cheer.

“Now my friends, it is the time you have all been waiting for — it’s the raison d’être

for tonight’s entertainment,” Arnold said. “And it is my solemn duty as mayor to lead us in the countdown of the lighting of our holiday tree, and I tell you when I say lead us, I mean lead: I want to hear from everyone. So we’re gonna start with [a countdown from] 10. Happy holidays everybody, let’s have the jazz choir close it out for us.”

UC Davis student Anna Carmelo shared her experience at the event right after the tree lighting ceremony, as well as what she was most looking forward to at the holiday event.

“I just got here, but I really like [it] –– it’s super cute,” Carmelo said. “I love the tree and the singing and the Christmas spirit. Just more of the performances that are to come.”

Local Davis resident and owner of the “My Davis California” Instagram, Richard, spoke about the event and the part of the night he enjoyed most.

“This will be my second time [attending the annual Davis holiday event],” Richard said, “The train was awesome. Came down G Street, saw Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus over there.” Richard then spoke about his favorite part of the event: “Probably the band, [it’s] got to be the band.”

There were a variety of local shops set up at the festival selling holiday treats, and a local jazz choir sang to end the night of festivities. The city of Davis thanked the Davis Food Co-op via X before the celebration.

“Thank you to the Davis Food Co-op for sponsoring this year’s Candlelight Parade,” the city said.

To get more information about the event, visit https://www.cityofdavis.org or contact Carrie Dyer at cdyer@cityofdavis.org.

Written by: Hannah Schrader  city@theaggie.org


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