When: Friday, November 18, 2016, 6:00PM-8PM
Where: Millennium Park, Washington and Michigan Avenue.
Musical and dance performances:
The Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony will feature performances by:
- International percussion sensation created by Luke Cresswell and Steve NcNicholas: STOMP. STOMP is at the Broadway Playhouse Water Tower Place. Discount tickets here.
- Cast members from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical, which returns to Chicago for nine shows only at The Chicago Theatre November 17 through November 20. Discount tickets here. Join the world’s most famous reindeer and cast of iconic characters including Hermey the Elf, Yukon Cornelius and the Abominable Snow Monster as they help Santa save Christmas.
- The ceremony finale will feature an assortment of holiday classics sung by the Chicago Community Chorus.
- A special appearance by Santa and Mrs. Claus, followed by the lighting of the tree.
This years victim is a 69 Foot Norway Spruce donated by the Scholla Family of Wauconda, Illinois.
Chicago’s first municipal Christmas tree was lit in 1913 on Christmas Eve by Mayor Carter H. Harrison in Grant Park. The tree was a 35-foot Douglas Spruce placed on 40-foot poles and studded with smaller trees to give the appearance of a much larger tree. It was decorated with 600 multi-colored lights and topped with the Star of Bethlehem.
The first Christmas tree was a gift of an associate of Captain Herman Scheunemann and was lit in his honor. He was the captain of the Rouse Simmons, known as the “Christmas Tree Ship.” The ship was lost in a storm in Lake Michigan on November 23, 1912.
In December 1956, Chicago’s Christmas tree was in fact one large tree that had been created from many smaller trees. The tree was 70 feet tall, decorated with about 4,400 lights and more than 2,000 ornaments, and was located in the Grant Park tree platform at Congress Parkway and Michigan Avenue.
The Tree Lighting Ceremony was moved to Civic Center Plaza, known today as Daley Plaza, in December 1966.
In 1982, the location was changed to State Street and Wacker Drive, but returned to Daley Plaza the following year.
In 1991, Chicago’s Mayor asked the Department of Streets and Sanitation to find a large single transplantable tree to be transplanted in a city park after the holidays. The largest they could find was 35 feet tall – deemed not large enough for the plaza open space. The City of Chicago constructed a smaller version using fewer trees – a total of 17 trees standing 50 feet tall. The number of trees used to build the Chicago Christmas tree grew each year with 112 trees used in 2008 to form one large tree.