KTVU: Thousands at Golden Gate Park for tree lighting

McLaren Lodge tree lighting party

By Evan Borders

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. —

City officials joined the San Francisco Recreation & Park Department and members of the community Thursday, December 5th, for the lighting of San Francisco’s official holiday tree, located outside historic McLaren Lodge.

Not only was the tree lit, but 40 tons of snow was also trucked in for the community to enjoy.

“Nothing says Happy Holidays quite like 40 tons of fresh snow,” said Rec & Park General Manager Phil Ginsburg. “This is one of Rec & Park’s oldest and most beloved traditions, and we’re thrilled to celebrate another year with San Francisco families.”

City officials, including Supervisor/Acting Mayor Norman Yee; Supervisor David Chiu; Supervisor Katy Tang; Supervisor Malia Cohen; Assessor-Recorder Carmen Chu; and Treasurer José Cisneros, were on hand to lead the countdown to the tree lighting.

Hundreds of families came out to celebrate the event, which was started in 1929 as a gift to city residents who were then enduring the scarcities of the Great Depression. McLaren would light a mile-long stretch of trees along Fell Street, ending in front of the Lodge, his home at the time.

The tree, a Monterey Cyprus, is over 100 years old and is lovingly called “Uncle John’s Tree”.

Holiday revelers enjoyed free carnival games, arts and crafts, live entertainment and a visit from Santa, as well as sledding and other snow activities.  The School of the Arts choir, the Philip Burton High School Drum Corps and Rec Idol winner Tracey Sarmiento were also on hand to perform and join in the festivities.

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