(Alton, IL) – On Friday, November 19th Alton Marketplace and Downtown Alton Inc. will host an event that’s sure to get you into the holiday spirit. The 16th Annual Tree Lighting at Lincoln-Douglas Square will begin with the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus on the trolley at 6:00. The free festivities including caroling, candy, cookies, hot cocoa and prize drawings for kids will continue until 6:45 when Mayor Tom Hoechst flips the lights on our beautiful tree, which is provided by the Alton-Godfrey Rotary Club.

Carols will fill the air throughout the evening provided by many area Girl Scout Troops as well as the Main Street Methodist Cherub Choir and Hallelujah Choir. Father David Boase from St. Paul’s Episcopal Parish of Alton will bless the tree. Other speakers include Rotary Club 2010 President Roland Hansen, and Salvation Army Captain Randy Tooley, who will be kicking off the “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 local food pantries. 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 Schwegel’s Market any time before 5pm on Wednesday, November 17th. Many thanks to the Alton Caring Corps, the United Way, the Junior League of Greater Alton and Alderman Mike Velloff for their help with this project.

Free trolley transportation has been arranged between Lincoln-Douglas Square and West 3rd Street from 5:30-7:30, and other activities will line 3rd Street from 7:00-9:00. Outdoors, kids can pet a live reindeer, play games on the sidewalk, and enjoy a performance by the A-Town Steppers at 7:30.  Plus, play games with Santa & Mrs. Claus and warm up with refreshments indoors during the Riverbender Community Center’s open house at 200 W. 3rd St., also from 7:00-9:00. Please bring your cameras to capture photos of your family with Santa and the live reindeer at no charge.

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 and enjoying new and improved holiday decorations provided by the downtown improvement organizations. Alton Marketplace and Downtown Alton Inc. hope to see you on the 19th for a wonderful evening of holiday cheer!

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