(OKLAHOMA CITY) – The official kickoff of Downtown in December, presented by Devon, will take place the week before Thanksgiving with the Oklahoma City Tree Lighting Festival presented by Heartland in Bricktown on Thursday, Nov. 16, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. This free community event invites the public to join Mayor David Holt and Santa Claus for a family-friendly evening of holiday festivities, including diverse performances highlighting the city’s many cultures and traditions.

The festival, now in its 22nd year, will take place in Bricktown on the Mickey Mantle Plaza of the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. The event includes family-friendly activities such as DIY photos with Santa Claus, caricatures, balloon art, a Magic Elf, and more.

Parents and guardians are encouraged to accompany their kids to the Letters to Santa Station sponsored by OG&E, where they can write and place letters to Santa in a North Pole mailbox and decorate downtown-themed holiday postcards to take home or mail. Attendees will also have an opportunity to snag free treats from Bricktown businesses, including popcorn from Harkins Theatre, fondue samples from The Melting Pot, holiday glazed ham samples from Rodizio Grill, and Hot Caramel Apple Crisp samples from Mickey Mantle’s Steakhouse.

The main attraction of the evening is the showcase of diverse holiday performances leading up to and following the countdown to the lighting of the Bricktown Christmas Tree by Mayor David Holt and Santa Blair.

The Bricktown Christmas Tree, presented by Painted Door Gift Boutique, will be lit at approximately 7 p.m. and will be on display through Christmas Day. The Bricktown Christmas Tree will shine brighter than ever with new LED lighting and ornament improvements this season and into the future.

“I invite all residents to join us in Bricktown for this awesome Oklahoma City holiday tradition! This special event always puts everyone in the holiday spirit. Our program will highlight our community’s amazing talent and diversity, and it kicks off a season of holiday activities in downtown that rivals any American city,” said Mayor David Holt. “I recall how years ago we gazed at old pictures and wished for a time when our downtown sidewalks were full of residents and activity. Those days have finally returned, and the energy around downtown during the holidays is as vibrant as it ever was. Our holiday decorations, activities, shopping, and dining can’t be beat. It all begins with the lighting of our City’s Christmas tree. We will see you there!”

The live performances include something for everyone to enjoy, featuring much-loved and familiar sights as well as new favorites. Attendees will see Lyric Theatre’s ‘A Christmas Carol’ cast, Lyric Theatre Academy Students, Jabee, Hưng Việt Drum Show and Lion Dancers, Oklahoma City Ballet, RACE Dance Collective and Yumare Mexican Folkloric Dancers.

Additional support for the Bricktown Christmas Tree and the Oklahoma City Tree Lighting Festival provided by Johnson & Associates, Canoo, Bricktown Association, Bank of Oklahoma, Lopez-Dorado Foods, Gipson Design and the OKC Dodgers. For more information, visit DowntownInDecember.com.