SF Rec and Park to Host Annual Winter Family Event: 85th Holiday Tree Lighting

SAN FRANCISCO – The San Francisco Recreation and Park Department will be hosting the 85th Holiday Tree Lighting this evening starting at 4PM at John McLaren Lodge located at the east entrance of Golden Gate Park.  There will be carnival rides, cookie factory, arts and crafts for kids, visit from Santa, music, and live entrainment.  Santa will arrive at the Lodge at 5:15PM, followed by the official Tree Lighting ceremony which will begin at 6:00PM.  The event is expected to end by 8:00PM, which then kids and families can head to Off-the-Grid Food Trucks that will be located nearby by Alvord Lake at Stanyan and Haight Streets where everyone can enjoy creative and gourmet meals outdoor.


Throughout the event, there will be performances by the music programs and school bands from the San Francisco Unified School District schools, as well live entertainment by a variety of local artists and organizations.


“The Holiday Tree Lighting at McLaren Lodge is a San Francisco tradition that families look forward to all year long,” said Mayor Ed Lee.  “San Francisco families love their parks because of events like this when all of our diverse communities come together and celebrate the holiday season.”


“In 1929, John McLaren began the tradition of lighting trees along a mile-long stretch of Fell Street leading to the City Tree in front of his home, McLaren Lodge in Golden Gate Park,” said Phil Ginsburg, SF Rec and Park General Manager.  “We are proud to continue this heartwarming family tradition and celebrate the holiday season with our fellow San Franciscans.”


The official City Tree has been adorned with more than 550 multi-colored lights surrounded by a decorated train, is an over one hundred year-old Monterrey Cypress planted by the City’s first park superintendent, John McLaren.  Around the City Tree, there will be North Pole Café for warm refreshment, Santa’s Workshop for arts and crafts, Imagination Playground for games and more.  In addition, SF Rec and Park \ in partnership with the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) will offer Operation Dream Toy Drive, all donated toys will go to children and families reside in the City’s public housing.


Operation DREAM (Diverse Response to Education Activities and Mentorship) seeks to give youth the opportunities to excel in education and employment as well as to reward participants with enriching activities.  And thanks to donors to the toy driver, Operation DREAM has been able to provide 20,000 toys to children throughout San Francisco every year.


“The SFPD is all about the kids, and Operation Dream has been about the kids for over 20 years with officers working with and mentoring kids,” said SF Police Chief Greg Suhr.  “Every child deserves a magical Holiday Season and the SFPD is committed to make that magic happen.”


The 85th annual Holiday Tree Lighting is part of SF Rec and Park’s overall efforts to better serve the diverse families in San Francisco.  By hosting seasonal citywide family events such Eggstravaganza in Spring, Play Day on the Green in Summer, Scaregrove in Fall, and Holiday Tree Lighting in Winter, SF Rec and Park makes San Francisco a friendlier place for children and families.  For more information about SF Rec and Park please visit www.sfrecpark.org .


Please see attached for the Holiday Tree Lighting video provide by courtesy of the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department: http://youtu.be/YH_oFNA6nFQ.



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