Governor Dan McKee is inviting Rhode Islanders to join him for the annual State House Holiday Celebration and Tree Lighting. The festivities will take place on Thursday, December 2 at 5 p.m. Governor McKee and the First Family will light the Christmas tree at approximately 6:15 p.m.

This year, there will be two Christmas trees on display at the State House. A 12-foot Douglas fir from Henry’s Christmas Tree Farm in Scituate will be outside the State House facing Francis and Gaspee streets. An 18-foot artificial tree will be on display inside the State House. The Douglas fir was purchased with donations from several local businesses and the artificial tree was purchased with funds from the 2017 NGA conference.

“The State House Holiday Celebration and Tree Lighting is one of the most festive times of the year,” said Governor Dan McKee in a press release. “It’s an opportunity for Rhode Islanders from all 39 cities and towns to come together and celebrate the season. My family and I are excited to join Rhode Islanders to enjoy a night filled with family entertainment as we kick off the holiday season.”

After the tree is lit, the Governor and First Lady will read “The Night Before Christmas.” This year’s holiday celebration will feature performances from Rhode Island’s own Billy Gilman, the Cumberland Clef Singers; Paul Cuffee Lower School Chorus directed by Christian Stanton; and “The Governor’s Own” 88th Army Band’s Portrait of Green Septet.
As is tradition, the Heroes Tree will be on display and Santa and Mrs. Claus will visit the State House from the North Pole. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be available for socially-distanced pictures with children.

Attendees are asked to bring an unwrapped toy to “Fill a Cruiser” with the Rhode Island State Police. Toys will be donated to a variety of local charities for distribution to children in need. Every child who donates an unwrapped toy to the Holiday Celebration will be entered into a raffle to win a scooter.

Following best practices to mitigate the potential spread of COVID-19, this year’s State House Holiday Celebration and Tree Lighting will be held outdoors, weather permitting, on the South Lawn (mall side) of the State House. In the event of inclement weather, the Holiday Ceremony and Tree Lighting will be canceled.

RIPTA bus service to the State House Holiday Ceremony and Tree Lighting are available in both a map and Word document.

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Ryan Belmore has been the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp since 2012. He also currently works for Mountain News, where he serves as Senior Editor - North America for OnTheSnow. He previously worked for the New England Patriots and American Cancer Society. He currently serves as Vice President of Fort Adams Trust and is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA).