As a growing crowd waited for the 3,000 feet of Christmas lights to shine on Spokane’s Christmas tree, revelers sipped hot chocolate and negotiated the best spots next to portable heaters.
There was a visit from Santa as well as Disney princesses, and some danced to Christmas tunes to keep warm.
George Bailey, his wife, Mary and their daughter Zuzu, characters in “It’s a Wonderful Life” (now playing at the Spokane Civic Theatre) welcomed the crowd. There were performances from the Company Ballet School, before five Disney princesses – Anna, Elsa, Belle, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella – told Christmas stories and sang while children ran gleefully through the snow machine.
The tree, which has been part of Spokane’s holiday celebrations for many years, sported 2,500 lights and a 10-foot bow.
Workers used a 125-foot-tall lift to wrap the 3,000-foot string of lights around the tree. Senske Services donated both the lights and the labor for the third year in a row.
“I send three people to put it up and three people to take it down,” said Timm Turnbough, Senske general manager. The company also passed out special glasses that make the lights look like either Santa or snowmen.
The Spokane Symphony Chorale led the crowd in Christmas carols and a handful of Christmas dad jokes before David Condon took the stage to light the tree for the last time as Spokane mayor.
Condon thanked Numerica Credit Union, one of the first sponsors of attractions at the renovated park, for the event and for their sponsorship of the Ice Ribbon next to the tree.
“Does everybody have their glasses ready?” the mayor asked the crowd before he counted down from five.
The tree lit up in spectacular blue, green and white lights, officially kicking off the holiday season in Spokane, and the mayor wished everyone a Merry Christmas and happy holidays.
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