The 20th Annual Detroit Tree Lighting presented by DTE Foundation hosted Merry & Bright 20 Years of Holiday Lights 

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On Nov. 17, Downtown Detroit was brimming with the sights and sounds of the holidays as the Downtown Detroit Partnership (DDP) produced the 20th Annual Detroit Tree Lighting presented by DTE Energy Foundation. This year’s theme was “Merry & Bright: 20 Years of Holiday Lights,” in recognition of the milestone anniversary of Campus Martius Park’s opening and its first tree lighting back in 2003.  

More than 100,000 guests turned out for this tradition of holiday fun and festivities for the whole family. The crowd participated in a collective count down, as they watched the tree become illuminated by more than 25,000 shimmering LED multi-colored lights. 

“The annual Detroit Tree Lighting has been a cherished community event for two decades,” said Paula Silver, DTE’s Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications/Corporate Citizenship and the DTE Foundation, who, in partnership with Santa, flipped the switch to light up 64-foot Michigan Norway Spruce. “This evening is all about creating memories and traditions, and we are honored to support an event that brings families and friends together from around the region.”  

Downtown was buzzing with excitement, as attendees perused the Downtown Detroit Markets at Cadillac Square, enjoyed delicious treats from local food trucks, which surrounded the perimeter of the event. Attendees gathered in the Cadillac Lodge, a ski- lodge themed activation, both of which will stay open until January 7, 2024. 

The evening festivities included spectacular entertainment on the MGM Grand Detroit Main Stage and a stellar lineup of live entertainment on The Rink at Campus Martius Park presented by Visit Detroit. Olympic gold medalist Nathan Chen, one of the biggest names in men’s figure skating, wowed the crowds with grace and extraordinary talent.  

Other U.S. National Champion skaters delighting attendees were Daniel Palmeri, a five-time championship masters junior-senior men’s champion; Anna Cobb, a professional figure skater and choreographer from Flint; Annabelle Wilkins, ranked third in the U.S. in the intermediate level; and Brooklyn Wybo, who flawlessly skated to “Perfect Christmas” from the “Barbie” movie soundtrack. There were also performances from skating clubs across Metro Detroit, including Arctic Figure Skating Club, Detroit Skating Club, Dream Detroit Skating Academy, Figure Skating Club of Birmingham, Figure Skating in Detroit, Fraser Figure Skating Club, Motown Ice Theater, New Edge Figure Skating Club, and Onyx Suburban Skating Academy

The crowd cheered with excitement, as award-winning headliner, American country singer and Flint native Miko Marks performed live from the MGM Grand Detroit Main Stage. Her performance was followed by social media sensation and singer Paul Russell, whose viral hit song ‘Lil Boo Thang’ garnered millions of views on TikTok; and Detroit natives Drey Skonie, Corrin Barnett, and gospel duo Tasha Page-Lockhart & Clifton Lockhart. Isis Damil and John Paul Wallace performed a festive duet, and Ballinger Entertainment dancers presented a hip-hop Nutcracker. The Archdiocese of Detroit Choir featuring Rooted, conducted by Dr. William S. Harrison, Sr., rounded out the entertainment. Returning as the “House Band” for the evening was The Redhouse Band, featuring six of the Detroit area’s most outstanding musicians under the direction of Darell “Red” Campbell Jr., renowned musician, songwriter, producer, and teacher who’s working with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra Civic Youth Ensembles for the eighth season. 

A few blocks away, and within walking distance, Light Up Beacon Park featured dazzling winter wonderland and holiday displays. During the festivities, families watched the 20-foot, Michigan-grown Detroit Children’s Tree come to life with ornaments decorated by local children, enjoyed live reindeer, musical entertainment, food trucks, a visit from Santa and Mrs. Clause, and the “Polar Express” ride-on train. 

For the first time, DDP planned a weekend of free, festive activities and entertainment following the Annual Detroit Tree Lighting to accommodate the event’s growth and popularity. 

Special thanks to media partner, WXYZ-TV Channel 7, who served as the official broadcast partner of the Annual Detroit Tree Lighting ceremony. 

The Downtown Detroit Partnership is a privately funded non-profit organization that greatly benefits from the support of its lead sponsors, DTE Foundation, DTE Beacon Park Foundation, Rocket Companies, and Visit Detroit, as well as the following winter sponsors: Autoliv, Bally Sports Detroit, Blake’s Hard Cider, Broadway in Detroit, Budweiser, Capital One Café, Cronus Communications, Detroit Free Press, The Detroit News, Detroit Lions, Detroit Pistons, Detroit Regional Partnership, Diversified Members Credit Union, EY, Fabiano Brothers, Faygo, General Motors, Honigman, iHeart Radio, Kroger, McDonald’s, MGM Grand Detroit,, Michigan Lottery, One Magnify, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Trent Creative, Wana Brands, and WXYZ Detroit

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