Thursday, December 2, 2022
The City of Providence invites families, friends, and elves (Will Ferrell-sized and otherwise) to its Downtown neighborhood for the annual holiday tree lighting ceremonies, presented by Mayor Jorge O. Elorza and the City’s Department of Art, Culture + Tourism, and hosted by WPRI’s Brendan Kirby and WJAR’s Patrice Wood. The weekend of celebration will kick off on Friday night with the lighting of the City Hall holiday tree. Due to forecasted rain, the City has moved its events scheduled for Saturday to Sunday. Sunday’s events will feature two-time US Olympic figure-skating medalist Nancy Kerrigan as she once again headlines an all-star ice-skating show at BankNewport City Center following the lighting of the Providence Rink’s tree.
“The holidays are the perfect time to come together with family, friends, and neighbors thereby strengthening our community,” said Mayor Jorge O. Elorza. “Our tree lighting ceremonies have become a beloved holiday tradition here in Providence, providing space for families and neighbors to join together in celebrating the holiday season with joy and togetherness.”
Last Christmas, we gave you our heart, but the very next day you gave it away. This year, to save us from tears, we will host not one but two days of holiday tree lightings. The City will light its trees at Providence City Hall and BankNewport City Center on Friday, December 2 at 5pm and Sunday, December 4 at 4pm. The tree adorning the steps of City Hall was generously donated by Vito and Julie Giorgio, and the BankNewport City Center’s tree was donated by Richard and Aleshia Vaughan in memory of the Rev. Dr. Sammy Vaughan and Gwendolyn Vaughan.
On Friday, beginning at Trinity Repertory Company, community carolers will make their way down Washington Street towards Providence City Hall for the first holiday tree lighting ceremony hosted by WPRI’s Brendan Kirby. Sackett Street Elementary School Choir is slated to perform, and Ebenezer Scrooge from Trinity Rep’s A Christmas Carol will make an appearance in an attempt to ruin all the fun (we won’t let him). The night will wrap up with a performance by Dr. Michelle Cruz, Director of Community Engagement at Trinity Rep.
On Sunday, WJAR’s Patrice Wood will host the BankNewport City Center tree lighting ceremony featuring the Brown University Marching Band and a star-studded ice-skating show hosted by and featuring two time US Olympic Medalist Nancy Kerrigan. The evening of championship figure skating will include an all-star lineup with Olympic Team Medalists and National Champions Jason Brown, Karen Chen, and Rhode Island’s very own Marissa Castelli. Also performing will be international and national competitors Heidi Munger, Jun Hong Chen, Phillip Baker, and the 2019 Nations’ Cup Silver Medalists Ocean State Ice Theatre. Joining them will be 2022-2023 National Qualifying Series Medalists Sasha Streeter, Sean Chien, and Jonah Sobieraj, as well as local stars from BV Skating and Mount Saint Charles Academy. This 50-minute extravaganza, directed by Sarah DiNardo and Brad Vigorito, and sanctioned by US Figure Skating and the Pawtucket and Providence FSC, will be filmed by On Ice Perspectives.
And the celebration doesn’t stop there. This year’s tree lightings are a part of Providence’s larger “Three Nights of Lights” celebration, sponsored by the City and Rhode Island Commerce, in partnership with the Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau, WaterFire, The Avenue Concept, and FirstWorks. Don’t miss WaterFire on December 1 and 2, with partial lightings, performances, food trucks and more. And on December 2, check out an outdoor screening of “Urban Carnevale” presented by FirstWorks. Visit the Three Nights of Lights website for more details.
While downtown, residents and visitors may notice the city streets aglow with festive lights thanks to The Avenue Concept and the Providence Tourism Council. The Avenue Concept will illuminate 12 murals and sculptures throughout Downtown, with activations and layers of sound and performance. And once again, the Providence Tourism Council has partnered with the City of Providence to launch the “Illuminate PVD” campaign, brightening the streets of Providence by activating and illuminating the City’s public spaces and buildings. Activations this year include the installation of digital snowflakes on light poles, holiday décor, and colorful lighting installations at Providence City Hall and Biltmore Park.
The weekend’s events are free, family-friendly, and open to the public. So, don’t be a Scrooge, borrow a sleigh, and join us for a holiday weekend to remember.