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Ice-skating, explosive Santa highlight Downtown Christmas Tree Lighting

blog by Ben Tsujimoto  • 

Buffalonians are accustomed to annual events ushering in special times of the year.

The Turkey Trot? Must be Thanksgiving. The Shamrock Run? Spring cannot be too far off. The Labatt Blue Pond Hockey Tournament? Must be the dead of the Buffalo winter.

Nothing rings in the holiday season quite like Buffalo Place and Rotary Rink’s Downtown Christmas Tree Lighting Celebration, though.

Beginning at 5 p.m. on Saturday, the public is welcome to scoot over to Rotary Rink to begin the evening’s free festivities.

Ice skating on the rink—which shouldn’t be too soft given the precipitous drop in temperatures beginning Friday—will be free for anyone who brings skates. Rental fees are $2 for children and $3 for adults.

The ceremonial tree lighting will follow short speeches from Mayor Byron Brown, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, First Niagara Interim President and CEO Gary Crosby, and Rotary Club of Buffalo President Jim Tyrpak, and Santa will set off fireworks over Fountain Plaza after the tree is lit.

We hope the big guy doesn’t burn himself, get too overzealous with this responsibility or take on too many eggnog-slurping challenges before his duties.

The Downtown Christmas Tree Lighting Celebration is child-friendly: Santa will bumble about, horse and wagon rides will be available, while clowns (yikes), balloon art and face-painting will entertain throughout the evening. Don’t be shocked if you run into some merrymaking elves (not in a weird way). 

More than anything, the celebration—now in its 30th year—is cherished for setting the festive mood for the next three weeks, whether you enjoy the season for a chance to reconnect with family, celebrate a time of religious significance or chow down aggressively on candy-cane cookies. I happen to be thankful for all three at once.

(Header image provided by Buffalo Place, which you can learn more about here. Interior photo of a thoughtful Santa courtesy of Flickr / Sam Howzit).

TAGGED: buffalo place, downtown, downtown christmas tree lighting celebration, ice skating, rotary rink, santa

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