Annual City/County Christmas tree has been lit for the season

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) — Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele on Wednesday, November 20th lit the 100th Annual City/County Christmas tree in Red Arrow Park.

John McGivern was the Master of Ceremonies for an evening of holiday music and a visit from Santa Claus.

This year’s celebration was once again presented by Johnson Controls.

Pre-activities beginning at 4:30 p.m. included music by the Lincoln Center of the Arts Ambassador Choir, the Salvation Army Brass Ensemble, and carols by the Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s A Christmas Carol cast.

Special guests included characters from the Milwaukee Ballet’s The Nutcracker and songs by the Milwaukee Children’s Choir, celebrating 20 years.

“I hope all of Milwaukee will join us on November 20th as we light the 100th annual Christmas tree,” said Mayor Barrett. “Our tradition dates back to 1913, and on Wednesday we begin another century of marking the holidays in this special way.”

After the tree was lit, Santa was available in a heated tent until approximately 6:00 p.m. to meet with children and hear their Christmas wishes. In addition, children received a free holiday gift.

Starbucks provided refreshments.

This year’s 100th annual Christmas tree is a 40-foot Colorado Blue Spruce donated by Loving Shepherd Lutheran Church and School. This is the second municipal tree that Loving Shepherd has donated – the first graced Red Arrow Park in 2005.

Department of Public Works staff decorated the tree with more than 5,000 lights, 90 ornaments (new for 2013), and more than 100 bows fashioned from 500 yards of red ribbon.