Downtown tree lighting draws 1,000+

Danville residents turn out to see landmark oak illuminated for 37th year

More than a thousand Danville residents converged on downtown Friday night for the yearly holiday tree lighting.

"It seemed like it went very, very well," Danville Town Manager Joe Calabrigo said of the event. "And while we don't keep any scientific data, it seemed to be well-attended, a little bit better than last year."

Friday marked the 37th annual lighting of the landmark tree that splits Diablo Road. The mighty oak is more than 350 years old.

"The tree itself is part of Danville's earliest history, and the tree lighting is an iconic event that -- every year -- connects Danville's past with its present and future," said Martha Levison, events director for the Danville Area Chamber of Commerce.

Leading up to the illumination, hundreds gathered near the tree as the Danville Girls Chorus and the San Ramon Valley High School Chorus, at the direction of Ken Abrams, performed Christmas carols and other seasonal tunes.

"Father Christmas" and the "Snow Angel" then arrived onstage to lead the audience in a countdown, at the end of which -- following a several-second delay -- the holiday lights draped on the centuries-old oak were turned on.

Many attendees migrated toward the downtown corridor afterward, filling the streets, browsing in shops, visiting informational booths, watching street shows and crowding into restaurants.

Favorable outdoor conditions -- cool and dry -- likely played a role in the good turnout, Calabrigo said, adding, "The weather was about as perfect as I've ever seen it (for the annual event)."

The Lighting of the Old Oak Tree was presented by the chamber and the town of Danville.


Like this comment
Posted by Sadie
a resident of San Ramon Valley High School
on Dec 3, 2013 at 6:05 am

Love this Danville tradition so much! It makes living here so special.

Like this comment
Posted by Chris MacArthur-Blankenburg
a resident of Danville
on Dec 3, 2013 at 7:30 am

Thank you, Mariane Randall and your beautiful Sycamore Valley Elementary School Chorus, for singing Christmas Carols at the south end of Hartz Ave! You lit up our hearts! And thank you Danville leaders and residents for making the holidays and this town that much warmer!

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