Submitted photo  The 30-foot Christmas Tree will be brought to life on Saturday night at Sculpure Park downtown.

Submitted photo | The 30-foot Christmas Tree will be brought to life on Saturday night at Sculpture Park downtown.

The Christmas spirit will come alive this year with the tradition of the tree lighting at Sculpture Park, located on Clark Street in Ely.

Hundreds gather around each year while a band plays, singers perform, and the 30 foot tree is brought to life with thousands of lights giving the holiday season in downtown Ely an extra sparkle.

Friday night the Festival of Trees auction will be held at the Bristlecone Convention Center beginning at 6 p.m. Tickets are required for this event.

Saturday, you can enjoy a variety of craft and bake festivals going on around town.

The Craft and Bake Sale at the Senior Center, 1000 Campton St. will be held from 10 a.m. – noonand the Christmas Crafter’s Festival will be held at the Convention Center from 8-11 a.m.

After a morning of shopping, gather to enjoy the Christmas Parade at noon, followed by the Tree Lighting ceremony at 3:30 p.m.

The White Pine High School Band will be performing between 3:30-4 p.m., followed by the Learning Bridge Charter School Choir’s performance, and one of the elves reported that Santa will be on scene as well.

The tree is more than just a symbol of the holiday it also sheds light on why our community is so special.

The tradition of the tree lighting began in 2001 when Gayle Bartlett began efforts to get a tree for the downtown area of Ely.

The tree that now sits in Sculpture Park was purchased through a grant and funds were matched by local businesses and members of the community.

The donations raised were more than the $5,000 needed for the match.

The night of the first tree lighting, attendees donated another $400. Donations were from $1 to $20.

Wayne Cameron, executive director the for White Pine Chamber of Commerce, notes how supportive the Fair and Rec Board, now the Tour and Rec Board have been with the project granting funds to purchase additional decorations and also funds to upgrade the electrical system.

“There are so many community members who have assisted with the community tree project and we are very grateful for the usage of the park from the Bath family and the Ely Renaissance Society,” Cameron said.

The Ely Conservation Honor Camp crew also facilitates the constructing of the tree each year, with the supervision of the corrections officers.

Grab some hot cocoa, and enjoy the warmth of a Small Town Christmas celebration.