- Holiday season centerpiece is the tallest and brightest Michigan-grown Norway spruce
- Star-studded lineup of entertainment set to take to the ice and stage
- Public invited to attend and enjoy outdoor festivities, including opening of the Rink at Campus Martius Park after the Tree Lighting ceremony
- Home viewers can watch the Detroit Tree Lighting during ‘Light Up the Season’ on WXYZ-TV 7
DETROIT – A Detroit tradition for families is back in-person and it will be bigger, brighter and better than ever. The Downtown Detroit Partnership (DDP) and DTE Energy Foundation are proud to present the 18th annual Detroit Tree Lighting. The official kick-off of the holiday season will be held at the award-winning Campus Martius Park from 5 p.m. – midnight on Friday, Nov. 19, and the public is invited to participate in a full schedule of free festivities and entertainment.
“Detroit’s Tree Lighting is a cherished tradition that brings so much holiday cheer to families across Michigan. We are proud to offer the community an opportunity to come together and experience this festive occasion in person,” said David Cowan, chief public spaces officer at the Downtown Detroit Partnership. “We welcome all to Downtown for this unforgettable night and then return throughout the season to ice skate, shop, dine and so much more.”
Festivities will center around a Michigan-grown, 65-foot Norway spruce that is taller and brighter than any other to grace the center of Detroit’s gathering place. It will be decked with ornaments and illuminated by 20,000 shimmering LED multi-colored lights – after a count down by Santa.
The signature event will be marked by stellar live entertainment on The Rink and stage at Campus Martius Park, including performances by Olympic and U.S. national champion figure skater Ashley Wagner, who earned a 2016 World Silver medal and 2014 Olympic Bronze medal and mentored young skaters this past summer at the New Edge Figure Skating Club in Royal Oak; “The Voice” Season 20 winner Cam Anthony, the 20-year-old rising star whose viral video as a pre-teen began his journey to fame; Detroit’s Queen of the Blues Thornetta Davis, a multi-talented international singer/songwriter who has won more than 30 Detroit Music Awards and has wowed audiences worldwide; and Ryan Neal, a Detroit-based singer/songwriter and producer, who mixes hip-hop inspired production with soulful vocals, slinky guitar lines, vibey electric piano and funky bass riffs to create a sound that is described as nostalgic and fresh.
“The Tree Lighting Ceremony is such a special night for Metro Detroit, and we are honored to support an event that brings families and friends together. We can’t wait to see everyone – downtown or virtually – with their loved ones making memories for years to come,” said Lynette Dowler, president of the DTE Energy Foundation. “Light Up Beacon Park offers an additional downtown destination with family-friendly programming, performances and space to gather. This is our third year hosting Detroit’s only Children’s Tree in the park and we look forward to seeing the ornaments created by local kids who will have a hand in decorating the tree.”
WXYZ-TV Channel 7 will once again serve as the official broadcast station of the annual Detroit Tree Lighting ceremony, broadcasting complete coverage of the event during a live special, “Light Up the Season,” from 7 – 8 p.m. Those who prefer to view the show indoors from the comfort of their own home can tune in to the one-hour special broadcast on their televisions, online and on all streaming devices.
LIGHT UP BEACON PARK + DETROIT’S CHILDREN’S TREE
Down the street from Campus Martius Park, another holiday celebration will take place on Friday, Nov. 19, from 6 – 11 p.m., when Beacon Park kicks off the holiday season with “Light Up Beacon Park,” including the lighting of the 20-foot, Michigan-grown Detroit’s Children’s Tree that is adorned with ornaments decorated by Beacon Buddies and local Detroit children. The celebration also will feature food trucks, live holiday music and more. Singer/songwriter Devon Gilfillian, whose debut album, “Black Hole Rainbow,” was nominated for a “Best Engineered Album” Grammy, will perform as the headliner.
Beacon Park will be illuminated with interactive lighting features totaling more than 125,000 LED lights, including the must-see “Swinging Bells” light installation. Artists from the Sydney-based studio Amigo & Amigo, who were inspired by what bells represent – a symbol of celebration and peace – created five giant bells that will be placed throughout Beacon Park. The spectacular Swinging Bells will make ideal photo moments and offer visitors the opportunity to enjoy a swing on the bells, a unique song and colorful light display that is activated when in motion.
Light Up Beacon Park is outdoors and under the Winter Lodge tent. A full list of activities at Beacon Park is available at DTEBeaconPark.com.
THE RINK AT CAMPUS MARTIUS PARK
The annual Detroit Tree Lighting also marks the opening of The Rink at Campus Martius Park at 9 p.m. Michigan’s premier family-friendly outdoor ice rink right in the heart of Downtown offers one of the most beautiful and iconic skating experiences in the country and continues to be a top destination for the entire region during the holiday season.
The Rink will be open seven days a week, including holidays, through March 6, 2022. Walk-up rink tickets are available at Campus Martius Park with more info and pricing available at DowntownDetroitParks.com.
DETROIT TREE LIGHTING FESTIVITIES AND OFFERINGS BEYOND
Those planning to attend the 2021 Detroit Tree Lighting are encouraged to arrive early to experience all the holiday festivities. The night also will feature amazing lighting attractions totaling more than a million lights across the downtown, festive activities, holiday shopping and so much more, including:
Guests can experience the magic of Downtown Detroit like never before – from inside an enchanted horse-drawn carriage. Carriage rides take passengers on a journey through the bustling city and around Campus Martius Park. With the dramatic backdrop of the city skyline and Detroit’s Christmas Tree, these charming tours are a wonderful way to embrace holiday cheer all snuggled up with friends and family or hand-in-hand with a sweetheart.
Downtown Detroit Markets
Residents, visitors and out-of-town travelers can celebrate the season in the city through a multitude of engaging activities and experiences, and dining and shopping at Downtown Detroit Markets at Cadillac Square.
Whether window-shopping or on a spree, the Downtown Detroit Markets are the place to be for specialty apparel, accessories, jewelry, bath products, home décor, children’s toys, pet goods, books, and snacks.
Eighteen curated local retailers and three unique food and beverage operators will set up shop for the holiday season. As part of Bedrock, Rocket Community Fund, and DDP’s mission to support the local entrepreneurial community, a majority of the Downtown Detroit Market vendors are Detroit-based. More information is available at DowntownDetroitParks.com and DeckedOutDetroit.com.
Cadillac Lodge by Bea’s
Returning to Cadillac Square this year in partnership with Bea’s Detroit, this cozy, family-friendly gathering space right next to the Downtown Detroit Markets offers drinks, eats, games, and programs for everyone to enjoy. In the comfort and style of a ski lodge setting, the Lodge offers a warm and welcoming place to sit and sip Bea’s special holiday lemonade – ‘Tis the Squeezson’ – and toasty treats like hot chocolate, coffee, and soup while joining in on board games, trivia, and karaoke with family and friends.
An assortment of food and beverage will be available from food trucks, offering a variety of cuisines to feed hungry visitors to the Detroit Tree Lighting. It’s also a great way to support some of Detroit’s finest small business owners and entrepreneurs in addition to trying some new, tasty delights. The list of food trucks that will be on hand includes Bearclaw Coffee Company, Big Bros Grill, Big Boys Food Truck, Chick A Dee, Cinn-A-Bon, Detroit House of Mac, The Great Greek Mediterranean Grill, Little Brothers Burgers, The Lobster Food Truck, Los Dos Amigos, Rollin Stone Pizza, Smokey Joe’s BBQ, and Spice Rack Catering.
There are plenty of bars and dining options in Downtown Detroit that will be open, too, from casual to fine dining and everything in between, including the award-winning Parc at Campus Martius Park, Lumen at Beacon Park, and many great Downtown dining options to explore.
A full season of winter events in Beacon Park, Cadillac Square, Campus Martius Park, Capitol Park and Grand Circus Park will be announced soon. “Winter in the Parks,” which runs through early January, brings winter fun and inclusivity to the broader Downtown Detroit community, promoting connectivity between the parks and creating warm, inviting spaces all season long.
Downtown’s public spaces play an important and valuable role in our community’s overall well-being, including physical, social and mental health.
Masks are encouraged and will be distributed onsite at the event – especially where social distancing is not consistently possible. Additionally, COVID-19 vaccinations will be available onsite for free, courtesy of the City of Detroit. Frequent hand washing and sanitizing are encouraged and, as always, organizers ask those who feel sick to stay home.
The Downtown Detroit Partnership is a privately funded non-profit organization that greatly benefits from the support of its lead sponsors The DTE Beacon Park Foundation and Rocket Mortgage, as well as the following additional sponsors: Absopure, Angry Orchard, Autoliv, Budweiser, Capital One, Compuware, Cronus Communications, Detroit Free Press, The Detroit News, EY, Faygo, Honigman, Hydro Flask, KeyBank, McDonald’s, MGM Grand Detroit, Michigan.com, One Magnify, Samuel Adams, SEEN, Strategic Staffing Solutions, TCF Bank, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Trent Creative, Truly Hard Seltzer, Visit Detroit, The Westin Book Cadillac, Whole Foods and WXYZ Detroit.
About the Downtown Detroit Partnership
Downtown Detroit Partnership (DDP) strengthens and supports Downtown Detroit through strategic initiatives and programs. DDP convenes business, philanthropic and government partners to create a vibrant and resilient urban core for Detroit and the surrounding community. DDP is responsible for programming, managing and operating several of Downtown Detroit’s parks and public spaces. For more information, visit DowntownDetroit.org.
About the DTE Energy Foundation
The DTE Foundation is the philanthropic arm of DTE Energy, continuing the legacy of community support and involvement of its electric and natural gas utilities, which serve 2.3 million electric customers in Southeast Michigan and 1.3 million natural gas customers in Michigan. In 2020, the DTE Energy Foundation provided more than $16 million in grant support and approximately $21 million in COVID relief to nonprofits where the company has a business presence. As one of Michigan’s leading corporate citizens, DTE Energy is a force for growth and prosperity in communities across Michigan in a variety of ways, including philanthropy, volunteerism and economic progress. Visit DTEFoundation.com to learn more.