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Lighting of the Tree Special Events :: Community Event
Lighting of the Tree
6:00 PM
Downtown Missoula
Description:
LIGHTING OF THE DOWNTOWN HOLIDAY TREE
ALTERED TO 10-DAY LIGHTING AT 6 PM EVERY NIGHT
Each year the Downtown Missoula Partnership organizes the annual Lighting of the Tree at the north end of Higgins in conjunction with the annual Parade of Lights. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on events where people gather together. So this year instead of a mass gathering for a parade, bonfire and tree lighting, the Lighting of the Tree will take place at 6 pm on 10 consecutive nights, spreading out the opportunities for Missoula-area families to see the Tree Lighting in small groups from November 27-December 6.
Held in conjunction with the Festival of Trees, the Lighting of the Tree will knock your Santa socks off. This year’s Christmas Tree will feature 6,000 brand-new LED lights, thanks to the Missoula Downtown Foundation. The new lights replace the 2,000 incandescent lights that have decorated the tree for the last 40 years.
“The holiday season is a time when Missoula families traditionally come together in Downtown Missoula for Santa’s Arrival, the Parade of Lights, and the Lighting of the Tree,” said Jared Kuehn, President of the Missoula Downtown Foundation Board of Directors. “While the pandemic won’t allow us to come together for the ceremony this year, the community will be blown away by the new lights and holiday décor in Downtown Missoula.”
Each year the staff from Washington Companies graciously hangs the lights on the 30-foot Downtown Holiday Tree, directly in front of the Historic Northern Railroad Depot. When the décor came down in January of 2020, the Missoula Downtown Foundation invested $7,000 for the new LED lights.
“We’ve known for awhile that the lights were on the last legs, so we made the decision during the 2019 holiday season to invest in new lights for the tree,” Kuehn said. “Now we have three times the number of lights that are much more efficient, and they should last us for the next 30 years.”
This year’s Lighting of the Tree will not have any of the traditional activities, such as the Christian Life Center Choir performance, the Boy Scouts’ Bonfire, or free cocoa and cookies. This year’s event will not close Higgins Avenue or feature Santa’s countdown. This year’s Lighting of the Tree will take place quietly every evening at 6 pm from Black Friday through the first Sunday of December.
All who visit Downtown for daily tree lighting are encouraged to follow appropriate COVID protocols, as outlined by state and county restrictions, and to enjoy dining and shopping in Downtown Missoula this holiday season. Downtown businesses will be open in the evenings, and parking is free after 5 pm.
In addition to the nightly tree lighting, Missoula residents and visitors can participate in the Downtown Window Decorating Contest and the Missoula Festival of Trees. Ten decorated tree packages, valued at $1,000 each, are open for viewing Nov. 27-Dec. 7, and anyone can purchase raffle tickets for the opportunity to take home a decorated tree this holiday season. Visitors can also vote for their favorite Downtown windows, competing for one of six awards distributed annually by the Downtown Missoula Partnership.
For more information on the annual Lighting of the Tree, or on any other Downtown holiday activities, contact the Downtown Missoula Partnership office via phone (406-543-4238) or email (info@missouladowntown.com), or visit the DMP office (218 East Main) in person.
Age Group: All Ages
Venue: Downtown Missoula
Address: the north end of Higgins Missoula, MT 59802
Phone: N/A

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