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Downtown lights up tonight. (PHOTO: milwaukeeholidaylights.com)

Downtown lights up tonight, begins festive holiday season

The magic of Christmas and the holiday season begins tonight, Thursday, Nov. 17, in Downtown Milwaukee.

First, the City of Milwaukee Christmas tree is lit and decorated in front of City Hall. You can join Mayor Tom Barrett for this century-old tradition. (In fact, this is the 103rd time the city's hoisted a tree!) Attendees are also invited to listen to music from local choirs, ensembles and theater groups and then chime in for the countdown.

The big evergreen will light up at 5:29 p.m. After the show, free Jingle Bus rides (presented by Meijer) can take you past all of Downtown's newly lit scenes.

The 2016 City Christmas Tree celebration is presented in partnership with Marcus Hotels & Resorts, Mandel Group, Inc., Potawatomi Hotel & Casino, Associated Bank, Linda & Scott Haag (who donated the tree), Dynamic Events by David Caruso, Canopies Events, Majic Productions, Front Room Photography, Mindspike, Starbucks, and Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21. David Caruso, owner of Dynamic Events by David Caruso, designed the tree's look.

After the lighting, walk over the Kilbourn Avenue bridge to the Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival Kick-Off Extravaganza in Pere Marquette Park.

Beginning at 5:30, local band Platinum, The Radio Rosies, Dance Academy of Mexico, Brewcity Fire Brigade, Jenny Thiel, Robin Adkins, Carol Molex, Fred Astaire Dance Studio and Elation Dance Center will charge up the crowd at Pere Marquette.

The official program begins at 6:30 with the lights going on and fireworks going up at 7 p.m.

Can't make the party? Tune into "WISN 12 Live: Holiday Lights Kick-Off" at 6:30 p.m. to catch all the acts, plus the fireworks. WISN 12's Melinda Davenport and Ben Wagner will co-host the program, and OnMilwaukee also is a proud sponsor of Holiday Lights.


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