Families filled Triangle Park on Friday night to ring in the holiday season with the Luminate Lexington tree lighting ceremony.
The Lexington Singers sang Christmas songs until Santa arrived to help Mayor Jim Gray light the massive tree.
Children on their parents’ shoulders sang along to Jingle Bells while skaters glided nearby on the Unified Trust Company Ice Rink.
“My favorite thing was coming here with my family and friends,” 6-year-old Jaiden Atkins said. Atkins had just finished playing with Cali, one of the many dogs joining the holiday fun.
Salvation Army volunteers helped welcome Santa and rang their bells nearby as person after person walked up to drop donations in their red bucket.
Vendors were also on hand with jewelry and other local products at the Holiday Market.
The lighting ceremony was the first of the city’s many holiday events.
The annual Christmas Parade will take place at 7 p.m. Tuesday along Main Street, and the ice rink will be open downtown through Jan. 10.
In addition to their downtown performance at the tree lighting, the Lexington Singers will be performing Handel’s Messiah at 8 p.m. Dec. 12 in the Singletary Center for the Arts. Tickets for the event will be $20 for adults, $18 for seniors and $9 for students.
For people looking for more Christmas lights than just the downtown tree, Southern Lights will be open from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. daily through Dec. 31 at the Kentucky Horse Park. Tickets for Southern lights are $15 per car Monday through Thursday, $25 Friday through Sunday and $35 for vans and limousines.