Detroit Unveils Majestic 64-Foot Holiday Tree in Campus Martius Ahead of 20th Annual Lighting Ceremony
When the Motor City feels that familiar November bite in the air, every Detroiter knows it’s time to switch gears into holiday mode. November 1st isn’t just a date on the calendar; it’s the unofficial green light for the city to rev up its festive spirit. The stage is set at Campus Martius Park, where … Continued
When the Motor City feels that familiar November bite in the air, every Detroiter knows it’s time to switch gears into holiday mode. November 1st isn’t just a date on the calendar; it’s the unofficial green light for the city to rev up its festive spirit.
The stage is set at Campus Martius Park, where crews are already laying the groundwork for a cherished tradition – the Downtown Detroit Partnership’s annual tree lighting. It’s the 20th year, and Detroit is all hands-on deck, getting ready to flip the switch on the season’s celebrations.
The star of this year’s celebration is a 64-foot Norway spruce, hailing from Kingsley, nestled in the verdant expanses of Northern Michigan. The tree’s journey to the heart of Detroit marks not just a geographical shift, but also a transformation into a beacon of holiday cheer for the city’s residents and visitors alike.
“I am so full of joy,” said Amelia Sharpe, Detroit’s ‘Christmas Tree Lady’. “When this took place at Kennedy Square the tree was never this large or when it moved to Heart Plaza, but then Campus Martius Park was built in 2003 when mayor Kwame Kilpatrick lit Detroit’s first huge tree and it’s been getting bigger and bigger each year.”
While Detroit has seen taller trees grace its holiday skyline in previous years, the 2023 spruce stands out for its remarkable girth – making it the thickest tree to adorn the festivities to date. This attribute promises a lush and full-bodied silhouette that will anchor the city’s holiday decorations with its majestic presence.
The DTE Foundation’s sponsorship is a nod to the communal spirit that the tree symbolizes, and their support underscores the importance of unity and celebration in Detroit’s urban tapestry.
David Cowan, the Chief Public Spaces Officer for the Downtown Detroit Partnership, acknowledged the distinctive characteristics of this year’s spruce. “It seems like every year the tree gets taller, but I’ll be honest and say this tree is not the tallest, but it certainly is the thickest,” said Cowan. “Every year we usher in the holiday season with the arrival of Detroit’s Christmas tree, and I am so proud that the tree lighting has grown in its early days we had 3,000 strong and now we’re seeing 100,000 people come out to downtown Detroit in one night alone shopping, experiencing the holiday season, seeing all the lights, and of course being here for this year’s 20th annual Detroit Christmas tree. The Downtown Detroit Partnership couldn’t be more grateful to the city of Detroit.”
As the tree settles into its new temporary home in Campus Martius Park, the stage is set for the lighting ceremony – a moment that transforms the conifer from a mere tree into a symbol of holiday warmth and community joy. Detroiters are invited to witness the grandeur of the tree, which officially arrived on November 3rd, and to partake in the festivities that will unfold as the holiday season draws nearer.
The Detroit annual Christmas tree lighting taking place November 17 stands out for its inclusivity—the event is open to everyone at no cost. This aspect, Cowan emphasizes, is what truly makes it captivating and accessible to all, fostering a sense of community and shared celebration in the heart of the city. “November 17 is free and open to everyone it goes from 4pm-9pm and the new thing we added this year is a whole entire weekend of festivities,” said Cowan. “Saturday, we have skating with Santa and an ugly holiday sweater party and then Sunday we’re skating with Elsa and Olaf and there’s all kinds of free activities going on downtown ahead of the holiday season. Nobody does the Holiday’s like Detroit so come on out.”
This year’s tree is a reminder of the state’s natural beauty, bringing a piece of Northern Michigan’s woodland charm to the bustling cityscape. It invites residents and guests alike to come together, to pause and revel in the season’s joy, which is set against a backdrop of the city’s urban revival and spirited community life.
“I absolutely adore the tree lighting – all the kids, the seniors, and everyone that comes down here, you know that twinkle you see in your eyes when you get up for Christmas to see what Santa bought you?” posed Sharpe. “Well, that’s what I see in people, and I’ll just never get over that – I love it.”
This spruce, rising high above Campus Martius Park, is not just marking the countdown to the holidays—it’s a testament to Detroit’s unbreakable spirit. With every sturdy limb reaching skyward, the tree mirrors the city’s own story of toughness and elegance. It’s not just decorated with twinkling lights; it shines with the collective resilience of Detroiters, standing as a beacon of our shared history and ever-growing pride. Here in the heart of the city, this isn’t merely a tree—it’s Detroit in its purest form: bold, beautiful, and rising.