ALTON - On Friday, Nov. 17, Alton Main Street will host an event that’s sure to get you into the holiday spirit. The 23rd Annual Community Tree Lighting at Lincoln-Douglas Square will 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 p.m. when Mayor Pro Tem, Alderwoman Carolyn MacAfee flips the lights on the beautiful tree, which is provided by the Alton-Godfrey Rotary Club. An open house at follows the earlier festivities.

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Families are encouraged to bring their cameras to take pictures with Santa and costumed holiday characters.

Carols will fill the air throughout the evening provided by many area Girl Scout Troops, the JROTC (Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps), and the Alton High School Chamber Singers. Jason Harrison, Chaplain of the Alton Police Department and President of the Riverbend Ministerial Alliance, will bless the tree. Other speakers include Alton Main Street President Sasha Bassett, Rotary Club President Ron Mayhew, and Salvation Army Lts. Steven & Lily Reinier, who will be kicking off the “Tree of Lights” campaign with 2018 Chairman Mark Cousley.

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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, or the Alton Fire Station on 20th Street any time before 5 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 16.

Between the hours of 5:30-7:30 p.m., free trolley transportation will be provided between Lincoln-Douglas Square and the Community Center, located at 200 W. 3rd Street. Following the Tree Lighting, the public is invited to the Community Center’s Holiday Open House to play games, do crafts, visit with Santa & Mrs. Claus and warm up with refreshments indoors until 10 p.m.

The public is encouraged to make a night of it and enjoy the fun activities in the district while patronizing the downtown merchants for their holiday shopping. You can find more information on the many ways the Alton Main Street is working to promote and improve the historic district, as well as ways to get involved on their website:

Alton Main Street would like to thank the following sponsors who have made this event possible:, The Telegraph, WBGZ Radio, AdVantage News, Argosy Casino, Phillips 66, CNB Bank & Trust, Liberty Bank, Alton Memorial Hospital, Simmons Hanly Conroy, Ardent Mills, Alton Regional Convention & Visitors Bureau, Alton-Godfrey Rotary Club, The Salvation Army, OSF / Saint Anthony's Health Center, Roberts Motors, Crown Vision Center, Southern Illlinois Healthcare Foundation, Barrett Heating and Cooling, Quality Buick, Pontiac, GMC, Cadillac, 1st Mid-America Credit Union, Robert "Bob" Sanders Waste System, Alton Rehab & Nursing Center, Halpin Music, Sheppard, Morgan & Schwaab.

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