Last year, a permanent tree was planted downtown
By Ryan Gueningsman
DELANO, MN The Business Development Committee of the Delano Area Chamber of Commerce is again planning the Christmas tree lighting in downtown Delano on Thanksgiving evening this year.
“This is the third annual Christmas tree lighting,” commented business development committee chairperson Adam Kleve, noting the event was started to try to bring the community together while promoting the downtown and what it has to offer.
The idea of a tree lighting ceremony stems from what several larger cities have done.
“We’re trying to bring the citizens of the community down to start a tradition of really celebrating the joy of the holiday season,” Kleve said. “Everyone is starting Christmas so much earlier, and this is really a time for us to say ‘welcome to Delano’ and enjoy the holiday tradition. This is kind of a kick-off to the holiday season.”
Kleve said that, following the chamber’s tree lighting, the Delano Arts and Culture Council is planning an “old-fashioned Christmas in downtown Delano” event Saturday, Dec. 5 that will continue the spirit of the holiday season through December.
“We now have the opportunity to enjoy the old-fashioned Christmas that will take place the weekend after,” Kleve said. “That isn’t sponsored by the chamber, but it is certainly a worthy effort from the arts and culture group that we’d like to support, as well.”
For this year’s tree lighting ceremony, as has been done in years past, organizers will be collecting coats, blankets, and non-perishable food items for Love INC and the food shelf.
“We’re trying to increase our donations for the coat and blanket drive,” Kleve said. “That’s a very important initiative.”
He said five businesses have offered to be a collection point for folks to brings coats, blankets, or food items prior to the tree lighting event. Snap Fitness, True Value Hardware, Flower Farm by Otten Brothers, Bagy Jo, and Coborn’s will all serve as collection points.
Items will also be collected in the area of the Christmas tree Thanksgiving evening. Kleve said he is also hoping local employers will take initiative and pool together resources to collect these items from employees and contribute them in conjunction with the tree lighting event.
Last year, Flower Farm by Otten Brothers donated the large, “permanent Christmas tree” that will be used for the lighting ceremony at River’s Edge Park in downtown Delano.
The event will begin at 7 p.m. Thanksgiving evening, Nov. 26, and along with the tree lighting, will also include tree decorating, horse-drawn carriage rides sponsored by the chamber, and the arrival of Santa Claus in Delano.
Kleve noted that several of the downtown restaurants will be open that night.
He also expressed appreciation to the City of Delano for coordinating traffic control and “making sure it is a safe, fun event for everyone.”
“From our initial year, the event has been very successful the turnout increases tremendously, and we’re hoping to continue that,” Kleve said.