Thousands of people attended Sundance Square’s annual Christmas tree lighting on Sunday to start the Christmas season.
The lighting of the tree has taken place in Sundance Square since 1998, and downtown Fort Worth area is an award-winning entertainment district that attracts millions of visitors each year, according to the Sundance Square website.
“Celebrating the holidays in Sundance Square has always been a great tradition,” Sundance Square Marketing Director Tracy Gilmour said. “This year’s tree is a 59-foot blue spruce tree from Michigan that is decorated with 5,000 LED lights and beautiful ornaments.”
Mayor Betsy Price helped guide the tree into the middle of Sundance Square Plaza earlier in the week where it was decorated before Sunday’s lighting.
“Sundance Square pays for all of the labor and decorations necessary for the occasion,” Gilmour said. “We do it as a gift to our customers.”
The event also included musical entertainment and pictures with Santa Claus.
“I have been taking my children to the Parade of Lights followed by the tree lighting for years,” Fort Worth resident Becky Lynch said. “We still go now even though they’re grown.”
Santa’s workshop offers photos with Santa for $10. All proceeds go to a scholarship fund established by Fort Worth Sister Cities. The scholarship will benefit youth programs that globally educate students, according to the Sister Cities website.
“Our Santa is very popular and grows every year,” said Gilmour. “This year we had to nearly double his hours.”
Santa’s Schedule for the rest of November Santa is: Friday, November 27th, 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.. Saturday, November 28th, 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.. Sunday, November 29th, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m..
In December, Santa will be open Wednesdays through Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Fridays through Sundays 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.. He will also be there Monday and Tuesday the week of Christmas, and his last day is the Dec. 23.
The giving doesn’t stop at scholarships though. Once the tree is taken down following New Years, the lumber will be donated and incorporated into a Trinity Habitat for Humanity home.
“Our partnership with Trinity Habitat for Humanity allows them to build the home at Sundance Square Plaza,” Gilmour said. “The homeowner from last year was very pleased to know her home came from the Christmas tree.”
Building for the home will start in March.