Detroit's Christmas tree installed at Campus Martius
Detroit — O Tannenbaum!
The city's official Christmas tree, a 60-foot Norway spruce, was installed Monday at Campus Martius Park downtown.
It was set up as part of a special noon ceremony hosted by the Downtown Detroit Partnership and the DTE Energy Foundation.
"It sort of unofficially marks the start of the holiday season," said Robert Gregory, the partnership's chief planning and public spaces officer. "And we're really excited that the tree came from Metro Detroit for the first time. That and all of the students being here makes it extra-special."
A crane hoisted the tree, which was grown in Plymouth, onto a platform on top of the Woodward Fountain in the middle of the park. Officials didn't know how much the tree weighs.
Once it's decorated, the tree will have about 19,000 multi-colored lights and ornaments.
"What a beautiful day to bring in the holiday season," said Lynnette Dowler, president of the DTE Energy Foundation. "And we're going to enjoy having this tree up for the next several weeks to come."
The philanthropic arm of DTE Energy, the DTE Energy Foundation provided $18 million in grant support to nonprofits in 2017.
To complement the tree, students from 15 Detroit schools brought ornaments that they had decorated.
Kassidy Miller, 8, a third-grader at Cornerstone Charter Schools in Detroit, was among them.
She said her favorite part was "hanging my ornament on the tree."
Her teacher, Christa Perdue-Daniels, said Kassidy and her other art students were very excited about putting their work on display.
"They loved helping out and being able to create on an ornament," she said.
Gregory said it was the first time students have been invited to hang ornaments on a Christmas tree at the park and called it a great new tradition for the city.
Officials at the event also announced the lineup of entertainers who will perform at the city's 15th Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony and Light Up Beacon Park on Nov. 16. The event will be broadcast on WXYZ-TV Ch. 7, Gregory said.
Detroit-native and 12-time Grammy-winning gospel music star CeCe Winans will headline event. Olympic skating duo Maia and Alex Shibutani are also scheduled to appear.
For the second year in a row, Light Up Beacon Park will offer live streaming of the tree lighting and performances by Joe Hertler & the Rainbow Seekers and Nadir Omowale inside the heated Winter Lodge tent.
Campus Martius is located at the intersection of Woodward and Michigan avenues. Beacon Park is located at Grand River and Cass avenues, less than a mile northwest of Campus Martius. Free shuttles will run between the two parks from 4:30 p.m. to midnight.
AidenBarnes, 10, a fifth-grader at Henry Ford Academy in Detroit, said he loved decorating his ornament and can't wait to come back for the tree-lighting ceremony.
"I was so excited when they told me I could decorate one," he said. "And I love the Christmas tree here so much. It has all these ornaments and lights everywhere."
His father, Brian Barnes, 33, of Detroit, said he couldn't be more proud of his son.
"It's incredible my son chosen to do something so remarkable," Barnes said. "It's really overwhelming."
He also said Christmas tree in Campus Martius reminds him of his childhood.
"It reminds me of coming down here with my grandfather and celebrating Christmas, the festivities and being around people, the joy and love this time of year."