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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Riverfront Park hosts annual Christmas tree lighting

Riverfront Park is doing its part to make the holiday season bright in downtown Spokane.

Today the city will light up a 63-foot spruce in the park. The free celebration starts at 4 p.m. with a visit from Santa, children’s crafts and performances from groups like Spokane Civic Theatre, Company Ballet School and Spokane Symphony Chorale. The tree lighting ceremony will start at 6:25 p.m.

“Anytime you light up a big tree, it just brings out the sparkle of the holiday in the center of downtown,” said Fianna Dickson, communications manager for Spokane Parks and Recreation.

And it’s not just the tree that will brighten up the park for the holidays, she said. The newly renovated Pavilion’s light show will continue each Friday, Saturday and Sunday from about 30 minutes after sunset to 10 p.m.

And the ice ribbon has new motion-activated lights this year that hang over the ribbon. “As you skate under it, it’s kind of like a web of lights,” she said.

The ice ribbon opened for the season on Nov. 23. This year admission is for the day instead of by the hour, but if skaters come and go during the day, they’ll have to pay to rent skates each time.

Once again there will be skating lessons, too. Free lessons will be offered most Sundays through February. And the first session of paid, four-week group lessons started this week.

Dickson said she’s excited to see people gathered downtown enjoying the renovated park.

“It’s so special to see it full of families and friends and people enjoying this space,” she said.

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