close up photo of green pine tree
Photo by Irina Iriser on

Governor Dan McKee is inviting Rhode Islanders to join him and his family for the annual State House Holiday Celebration and Tree Lighting. The festivities will take place on Wednesday, November 30 at 5 p.m. Governor McKee and the First Family will light the Christmas tree at approximately 6:15 p.m.

“The holiday season is the most festive time of year, and the State House Holiday Celebration and Tree Lighting is one of the best ways for Rhode Islanders to come together and spread holiday cheer,” said Governor McKee in a statement. “My family and I are excited to join Rhode Islanders from all 39 cities and towns at the State House to enjoy a night filled with holiday merriment, celebration and cheer, and fun, family entertainment as we kick off a happy holiday season.”

“Rhode Island is starting this season of giving by remembering those that gave everything for our country and by giving back to those in need,” said Lt. Governor Sabina Matos in a statement. “I can’t wait to see the State House rotunda lit up with the warm glow of the holiday lights and to hear carols in the halls!”

After the tree is lit in the State House rotunda, the Governor and First Lady will read “The Night Before Christmas.” This year’s holiday celebration will also feature musical performances from Rhode Island’s own Billy Gilman, Cranston High School East, Saint Raphael Academy, Wilbur & McMahon School, and “The Governor’s Own” 88th Army Band.

As is tradition, the Heroes Tree – which includes handmade decorations in tribute to Rhode Island’s fallen service members – 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 pictures with children, and families are advised to bring their own cameras for pictures.

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 prize.

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

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

Belmore and his wife, Jen, currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, a move they made in 2021. Read more about that here -

Belmore visits Newport every couple of weeks to support the 12+ paid contributors What'sUpNewp has on the ground across Rhode Island, a place he called home for 39 years.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.

In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
Belmore can be contacted at and 401-662-1653.