FLINT (WJRT) (11/30/17) - It's the kickoff to the holiday season in downtown Flint.
Tonight's "Tree-Mendous Evening" begins at 5 p.m. and aims to transform the plaza at the corner of Saginaw and First streets into a mini Rockefeller Center.
"We're going to have New York right here in downtown Flint. We had such a huge success last year that we wanted to do it again," said co-Organizer Kathleen Gazall. "We'll have Santa here, so you can get your picture taken with Santa."
The second annual Tree-Mendous Evening is a joint effort between downtown residents, business owners, the Uptown Reinvestment Corp., and Flint Cultural Center. It comes complete with a 35-foot tree.
"At 5:59, we're going to do the countdown and then we're going to light the tree and it's going to be beautiful," said Gazall.
She said the night aims to recreate a little of what the downtown holiday experience was like back in the 1970s and 1980s.
"Our dad used to put us in the station wagon and drive us around downtown to look at all the Christmas lights and decorations. We wanted to bring some of that old-school charm back," said Gazall.
Part of that charm includes some four-legged friends.
"Live reindeer coming right from the North Pole and their station in Clare. They'll be hanging out and you can pet them and maybe whisper some secrets in their ears for Santa. They'll probably be trotting around town for a little while," said co-Organizer Kristy Bearse.
This family friendly holiday happening will also include hot chocolate, yard games, and entertainment acts.
"U of M will have their theater students out here dressed up and performing. Also, Powers will have some students out here singing," said Bearse.
Organizers hope that after the lighting, visitors will consider providing a little boost to the economy.
"We want people to feel the energy of downtown Flint, take it into the restaurants, share it with their families back home and then encourage people to come back to downtown," said Ferris Wheel General Manager Heather Morolla Kale.