TRAVERSE CITY — The 30-foot-tall blue spruce placed downtown at Cass and Front streets sets the stage for upcoming holiday festivities.
Workers removed the tree from F&M Park early today and, with the help of a tall crane, erected the towering tree for all to see just before noon.
"It's a celebration of the holiday season," said Rob Bacigalupi, of the Traverse City Downtown Development Authority. "We perhaps half-jokingly, but also a bit seriously, call our downtown tree the largest traffic calming device in northern Michigan. It's something that everyone looks forward to every year."
This year's tree lighting will take place Dec. 6 as part of a public event sponsored by the Downtown Traverse City Association and the Downtown Development Authority. The festivities start at 5 p.m. with holiday music, followed by community caroling. Santa arrives at 6 p.m. Jolly Old St. Nicholas will lead the lighting ceremony. Mayor Michael Estes will greet Santa and present him with a key to the city.
Traverse City Light & Power workers will string lights on other downtown trees this week. On Dec. 4, Blue Cross Blue Shield, which is housed in the City Centre Plaza building at Cass and State streets, will install 5,700 lights on three leafless trees in the plaza.
“Each canopy will have 1,200 lights and each trunk 700 lights,” said Colleen Paveglio, marketing director for the DDA.
Santa will also have a new house in a new location this year — at City Centre Plaza. The house was originally scheduled to be placed by crane in the plaza today, but it will now be set down sometime Monday. Paveglio said Dean Adams from Bay Area Contracting and BAC Design Group took the initiative to have a new house designed and constructed as a donation to downtown. The house was built with the help of 20 area vendors and Elmer's Crane & Dozer. Labor and materials were donated.