Jefferson City's mayor will light up a 25-foot Christmas tree Thursday night near the Missouri River as part of the 18th annual mayor's tree-lighting event.
The event, hosted by the city's Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department, drew more than 300 visitors last year, according to Amy Schroeder, the assistant director for the parks department's arts and outreach division.
Mayor Ron Fitzwater will plug in the lights to the Christmas tree, which will be decorated by the parks department with red, green and white bulbs. The four local Jefferson City Rotary Clubs sponsor the event and provide free cookies and hot chocolate for attendees.
The Christmas tree will be placed between the two Train Town USA monuments at Rotary Centennial Park, located at 102 Bolivar St.
The event begins at 5:30 p.m. with the Jefferson City Community Band performing for 15 minutes, then the Capital City High School Band, and finally the Helias Catholic High School Choir. At 6:30 p.m., Fitzwater will say a few words and plug in the Christmas tree lights. The event will end at 7 p.m.
The parks department will also collect non-perishable food items or unwrapped toys as donations for the Salvation Army during the event.
Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus and several elves will also be in attendance for photos. Barney and Eileen Combs have portrayed the Clauses in various Jefferson City holiday events since the two moved to the Capital City in 2019, including Friday's Downtown Living Windows and Saturday's Breakfast with Santa.