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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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For the first time in a decade, Riverfront Park tree lighting ceremony fills night with light and sound

UPDATED: Sun., Dec. 3, 2017

Left to right, Kyra Swearingen, 14, Madeline White, 14, Justice Standon, 14 and Savannah Brown, 16, react to the lights coming on during Saturday night's Christmas tree lighting in Riverfront Park. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Left to right, Kyra Swearingen, 14, Madeline White, 14, Justice Standon, 14 and Savannah Brown, 16, react to the lights coming on during Saturday night's Christmas tree lighting in Riverfront Park. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

The revival of the Spokane Grand Tree Lighting celebration went off without a hitch.

The 2,000 multicolored bulbs and giant red ribbon, strung among the branches of the towering 60-foot Douglas fir, drew oohs and ahhs from hundreds of cocoa-sipping patrons in Riverfront Park on Saturday night as local singers and musicians serenaded from the sidelines.

The giant tree has worn Christmas lights since 1979, Downtown Spokane Partnership marketing director Elisabeth Hooker said, but because of a lack of the sponsors in the late 2000s, there hasn’t been a tree lighting event in a decade.

People came in droves Saturday night, though, and the weather cooperated.

Downtown Spokane Partnership spearheaded the festival, joined by 98.1 KISS FM, which MC’d the event, and First Night Spokane’s musical talent, including such singers as Heidi Kinnamon, Brian Long, Chad Bramlet and others.

A Post Falls-based cover band, Mojo, performed ’80s hits like The Outfield’s “Your Love.” The Spokane Citadel Band representing the Salvation Army also performed a variety of holiday songs and handed out cookies.

Spokane Mayor David Condon was impressed with the event and the turnout.

“This is the whole reason why we’re doing this – to bring people back to Riverfront Park, to have events like this,” Condon said. “In a couple months we’ll have the carousel. It definitely brings the community together.”

Many patrons wore 3-D glasses handed out by Senske Services, which decorated the tree. When the lights came on, people wearing the glasses could see gingerbread men pop out from each light.

Children could be seen taking photos with Santa Claus, whose plastic sleigh and reindeer were on the back of a flatbed Spokane Fire Department truck.

“It went even better than we expected,” Hooker said. “It was a great event and was good for downtown Spokane.”

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