PALM SPRINGS — Frances Stevens Park will be ground zero on Friday, Nov. 30 as hundreds of residents and visitors usher in the holiday season with the annual ritual of officially lighting the 22-foot holiday tree.

Tree Lighting, Kids' Awards Start Season

Lorna Luft

Helping to light the tree will be local and national celebrities including Lorna Luft, local architect Hugh Kaptur and NBC Palm Springs news anchor Gino Lamont, along with Santa Claus and the Palm Springs City Council.

The festivities begin at 4:30 p.m. in the park on the corner of Palm Canyon Drive and Alejo Road.

There will be free cookies and hot cocoa, traditional caroling and music from the Palm Springs High School Madrigal Singers and Symphonic Orchestra, children’s craft activities, and a visit from Santa Claus.

The lighting of the city’s “green” holiday tree decorated in thousands of energy-efficient lights takes place at 5:15 p.m.

“The city of Palm Springs’ holiday tree lighting has become a much-loved tradition
and kick-off to our signature holiday event, the Festival of Lights Parade,” Mary Jo Ginther, director of the Palm Springs Bureau of Tourism, said in a prepared statement. “Bring the
whole family and come celebrate the holidays Palm Springs style. You won’t want
to miss the fun.”

Adding to the fun will be celebrating about 50 students who participated in the 26th annual city of Palm Springs Holiday Banner Program. They will be heralded for their original banners that line Palm Canyon Drive during the holiday season. in the Uptown Design District.

The ceremony, hosted by Mayor Robert Moon and Main Street Palm Springs
President Joy Meredith, the co-founder of the program, will be held at 4 p.m. in
Frances Stevens Park, just prior to the 5:15 p.m. lighting of the city’s holiday tree.

About 100 banners, hand-painted by students from kindergarten to 12th grade,
are displayed along Palm Canyon Drive each year with more than 50 new and
original designs added to the collection annually. Almost 900 area students
have submitted original drawings this season. The theme is “Winter
Holidays, Palm Springs Style” with a special emphasis on Palm Springs

In addition, a popular People’s Choice Award is decided by the most “likes” on the Main Street Palm Springs Holiday Banner Facebook page. Voting is currently underway.

“We are thrilled to celebrate the incredible efforts of these talented students who
bring our residents and visitors so much joy every year with their uniquely original
designs during the holiday season,” Meredith said in a prepared statement. “These artistic banners are truly a part of the magic that makes Palm Springs like no place else and I invite
everyone in the Coachella Valley to visit downtown this holiday season to see
them for yourselves.”