City begins assembly of Clinton Square Christmas tree as countdown to Nov. 26 tree lighting commences

As the assembly of the Clinton Square Christmas tree begins, Mayor Walsh announced plans for the return of the in-person “Home for the Holidays” tree lighting on Friday, Nov. 26 at 6 p.m. in Clinton Square.  The 42-foot tall tree in the heart of downtown Syracuse will remain the focal point, continuing the long tradition of lighting the Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving. Additionally, Cumulus Media will produce and promote a digital production of the tree lighting available beginning Wednesday, Dec. 8 at for viewers to enjoy from the comfort and safety of their own home.

“After everything our community experienced this past year, we are thrilled to be returning to an in-person “Home for the Holidays” celebration that embodies the true holiday spirit of Syracuse and all that we represent here in our great city,” said Mayor Walsh. “After last year’s online success, we thank Cumulus Media for producing a digital version once again this year so residents can choose a viewing option that works best for them.”

Mayor Walsh was joined for the announcement of the 2021 “Home for the Holidays” tree lighting plans by Beth Coughlin, vice president and market manager for Cumulus Syracuse; Hon. Joe Driscoll, 5th district common councilor; Hon. Rita Paniagua, councilor-at-large; and Corey Driscoll Dunham, chief operating officer (l-r).

Returning to co-host from the City of Syracuse will be Maria Maldonado-Lewis and WNTQ’s Ted and Amy and WAQX’s Marty and Shannon. A pre-show will include a singing Harmonizers Select Choir from Onondaga Hill Middle School from 6 to 6:20 p.m., closing with a performance by Brownskin Band at 7:15 p.m.

“We are proud to produce this year’s iconic Home for Holidays Tree Lighting on site in historic Clinton Square in Syracuse!,” said Beth Coughlin, vice president and market manager, Cumulus Syracuse.  “Again, this year, we will also be producing a digital special that will run all during the holiday season at featuring the night’s festivities and the diversity of our community for those not able to attend.” 

Three area youth have a chance to join Mayor Ben Walsh and Deputy Mayor Sharon Owens on stage to help light up the Christmas tree at the celebration.  One winner will be selected from each of the following age categories: 5-7; 8-10; 11-12. How to enter:

  1. Youth between the ages 5-12 need to create a freehand drawing showcasing this year’s theme of   “Holidays Around the World”.
  2. Take a picture of your child’s drawing and e-mail it to: by Friday, November 19 at 5 p.m.
  3. Make sure you include: name, age, school, parent name, phone #, & e-mail.

Traffic and Parking

There is no charge for street parking on Nov. 26. Streets will be closed according to the following schedule.

Streets Closed from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

  • 200 block of West Water Street, from Clinton Street to Franklin Street
  • Clinton Street, from West Genesee Street to Washington Street
  • Erie Blvd. West, from Clinton Street to Franklin Street

Streets Closed from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

  • Clinton Street, from Herald Place to Genesee Street
  • Salina Street, from Willow Street to Washington Street
  • Genesee Street, from Franklin Street to Salina Street
  • James Street, from Salina Street to Warren Street
  • 100 block of Water Street and East Genesee Street, from Salina Street to Warren Street
  • Erie Blvd. East, from Salina Street to Warren Street

List of Events

Clinton Square Ice Skating

The Clinton Square Ice Rink will be open for skating on Nov. 26 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., weather permitting.  It will be closed during the ceremony and reopen immediately after with extended hours until 9:30 p.m., weather permitting. The general admission fee is $5.00. The admission fee for children (12 and under) and seniors (55 and older) is $3.00. Skate rentals cost $5.00. Credit card and cash payments are accepted. Pre-registration is not required at this time. Patrons can call 315-423-0129 for more information.

Tree Lighting, 6:30 to 7:15 p.m. at Clinton Square

  • The ceremony will begin at 6:30 p.m.
  • Brownskin Band, a local R&B/Soul band from Syracuse, will provide musical entertainment throughout the program.
  • Mayor Ben Walsh and Deputy Mayor Sharon Owens will be joined on stage by the three winners of the “Holidays Around the World” Art Competition at 7 p.m. to light the Christmas tree. The ceremony is expected to conclude by 7:15 p.m.
  • There is accessible seating located near the corner of West Water and South Salina Street

The Syracuse Department of Parks, Recreation & Youth Programs will be offering Holiday Hayrides at Burnet Park on Dec. 10, 11, 17 & 18 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The horse-drawn wagon rides through an illuminated Burnet Park will conclude with a visit with Santa. Rides are $2 per person. Online pre-registration is required and opens on Saturday, November 13 at 8 a.m. at

Mask wearing is recommended at all of our outdoor events and facilities. For more information call the Syracuse Department of Parks, Recreation & Youth Programs at 315-473-4330.

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