ALTON - On Friday, Nov. 20, Alton Main Street will host an event that’s sure to get you into the holiday spirit. The 21st Annual Community Tree Lighting at Lincoln-Douglas Square will begin with the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus on the trolley at 6:00 p.m.

The free festivities including caroling, candy, cookies and hot cocoa will continue until 6:45 when Alton Mayor Brant Walker flips the lights on the beautiful tree, which is provided by the Alton-Godfrey Rotary Club. Families are encouraged to bring their cameras to take pictures with Santa and costumed holiday characters.

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Carols will fill the air throughout the evening provided by many area Girl Scout Troops, and Pastor Mike Adams of Lifehouse Church will bless the tree. Other speakers include Rotary Club 2015 President Liz Parker, and Salvation Army Lts. Bryan & Teri Ellison, who along with Chair-Family Kevin, Julie, Kathleen, Jonathan & KJ Botterbush, will be kicking off the red kettle “Tree of Lights” campaign.

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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 either of the Alton Fire Stations any time before 5pm on Thursday, November 19th.

Between the hours of 5:30-7:30, free trolley transportation will be provided between Lincoln-Douglas Square and the Riverbender.com 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 10:00 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: www.DowntownAlton.com.

Alton Main Street would like to thank the following sponsors who have made this event possible: Riverbender.com, The Telegraph, WBGZ Radio, AdVantage News, Alton-Godfrey Rotary Club, The Salvation Army, Argosy Casino, OSF / Saint Anthony's Health Center, Phillips 66, Alton Rehab & Nursing Center, Roberts Motors, Firehouse Bar, Robert "Bob" Sanders Waste System, Sheppard, Morgan & Schwaab, Paul Lauschke & Associates, CNB Bank & Trust, Carrollton Bank, Southern Illinois Healthcare Foundation, Liberty Bank and Scott Credit Union.

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