Warwick will officially kick off the holiday season with the lighting of a Christmas tree this Sunday at Thayer Arena.
No, this tree is not a fake like that causing the latest fury of stories out of the State House when the governor picked an artificial tree. Nor is this a cut tree.
Rather, it’s a “real live” 45-foot tree that has had the distinction of being the city tree for about three decades.
Mayor Joseph Solomon and the Warwick Parks & Recreation Department are bringing the lighting together. According to Parks & Recreation Director, James Scott, “The mayor wants to build community and get people together, and show off one of the city’s most valuable assets; Thayer Arena.”
To be held from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. this Sunday, the ceremony will start with caroling lead by the Girl Scouts of America. Afterwards Mayor Solomon will welcome people before lighting the tree at 4:45 p.m. Following the tree lighting, the Warwick Figure Skaters, Team Ocean Blades, will perform an ice-skating demonstration at 5 p.m., and soon after, families are encouraged to enjoy free skating until 7:15 p.m.
Scott said, “We strongly encourage everyone to bring in a canned good for the free skating. The food will be collected at Thayer and we are going to donate the canned goods to Westbay Community Action.” Although skating is free with a canned good, skate rentals are not, and Scott recommends that families provide their own ice skates, or “rent [them] at Sandy Lane Sports right next to the rink.”
Hot chocolate and donuts will be provided by Webster Bank throughout this event, and Big Brothers Big Sisters of RI will sponsor craft projects for kids from 5 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. Additionally, Santa Claus will make a special appearance at 5:15 and stay until 7:30 p.m. It is recommended that parents bring their own camera equipment because Santa will not be bringing an elf photographer.
According to Scott, “I would encourage people to leave their pets at home, an ice rink isn’t the best place for them. I would prefer no pets because people walk on skates and stuff and I don’t want paws to get stepped on.”
Using a lift the city’s arborist Carlos Panero and his crew strung the lights last week. They will remain lighted for the season.