On Nov. 24 at 5:30 p.m. Evanstonians will gather together to welcome the upcoming holiday season with the annual Evanston Holiday Tree Lighting in Fountain Square.

The celebration includes an outdoor performance of holiday carols by the Music Institute of Chicago Youth Choir and a visit from Evanston Mayor Tisdahl, Rotary International’s Assistant General Secretary Kathy Kessenich and Santa Claus who arrive on an Evanston fire truck to the delight of the many children present.

Downtown Evanston will continue the tradition of the “green” tree lighting ceremony with thousands of reusable LED lights decorating the majestic tree. Also green this year are LED “candles” which the Youth Choir will hold while they sing holiday carols.

Immediately following the ceremony is a festive warm-up reception with holiday goodies hosted by Rotary International in their Café in One Rotary Center, at 1560 Sherman Avenue, across from Fountain Square.

In the spirit of holiday giving, healthful canned goods will be accepted for donation to Hilda’s Place, Evanston’s emergency housing and support services for the homeless. Hilda’s provides more than 12,600 nights of shelter and serves 20,000 meals per year to those in need.   

Free parking is available after 5 p.m. in the One Rotary Center Building garage, with entry on Grove Street just west of Sherman Avenue.