ALTON – On Friday, Nov. 18, Alton Main Street will play host to the 22nd Annual Community Tree Lighting at Lincoln-Douglas Square.
Events begin with the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus on the trolley at 6 p.m. The free festivities including caroling, cookies and hot cocoa will continue until 6:45 when Mayor Brant Walker flips the lights on the tree, which is provided by the Alton-Godfrey Rotary Club. Families are encouraged to bring their cameras.
Carols will fill the air throughout the evening provided by many area Girl Scout Troops and the JROTC (Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps), and The Rev. Mike Adams of Lifehouse Church will bless the tree. Other speakers include Alton Main Street President Debby Edelman, Rotary Club President Gary Ayres and Salvation Army Lts. Bryan & Teri Ellison, who will be kicking off the red kettle, “Tree of Lights” campaign.
The public is encouraged to help the less fortunate by bringing canned food donations to the event, which will be constructed into a giant “Castle of Cans” to benefit the food pantry at the Salvation Army. You can also drop off non-perishable food donations in advance into collection boxes in the lobbies of Alton City Hall, the Alton Police Department, either of the Alton Fire Stations or It’s Raining Zen at Mineral Springs Mall any time before 5 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 17.
Between the hours of 5:30 and 7:30, free trolley transportation will be provided between Lincoln-Douglas Square and the Riverbender.com Community Center, located at 200 W. Third St. Following the Tree Lighting, the public is invited to the Community Center’s Holiday Open House to play games, do crafts, visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus and warm up with refreshments indoors until 10 p.m.
Sponsors who have made the event possible include: Riverbender.com, The Telegraph, WBGZ Radio, AdVantage News, Alton-Godfrey Rotary Club, Simmons Hanly Conroy, Alton Memorial Hospital, Argosy Casino, Alton Regional Convention & Visitors Bureau, The Salvation Army, OSF Saint Anthony’s Health Center, Phillips 66, Illinois American Water, Ardent Mills, Paul Lauschke & Associates, Roberts Motors, Robert “Bob” Sanders Waste System, Crown Vision Center, CNB Bank & Trust, Firehouse Bar, Sheppard, Morgan & Schwaab, Southern Illinois Healthcare Foundation, Alton Rehab & Nursing Center, Sam’s Pawn Shop and Halpin Music Co.