The 17th annual Tree Lighting at Lincoln Douglas Square in downtown Alton is tonight. Alton Marketplace is the host of the event that will begin at the Square, then continue to West Third Street featuring music, snacks, Santa and a live reindeer. The event begins at 6pm with the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus and the tree lighting around 6:45.

Main Street United Methodist Church Youth Choir, along with some local Girl Scout Troops, will provide musical entertainment. The Alton Salvation Army, which will kick off its tree of lights campaign, will bring along free cookies and hot chocolate for all, and visitors are encouraged to bring their cameras to get a free picture with Santa. A community-wide canned food drive will also wrap up, and donations may be dropped off at the base of the statues where a large Castle of Cans will be constructed. Free trolley service will be available from 5:30 to 7:30pm between Lincoln Douglas Square and the Riverbender Community Center where they will have a free open house from 7-9pm.