Community invited to celebrate the Holiday Season at Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony on Friday, November 29


The City of Kalamazoo will host their Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony on Friday, November 29 in Bronson Park (200 S. Rose St), with festivities planned from 5:00 to 7:30 p.m. The lighting of the park will occur at 6:05 p.m.

Every year, the City of Kalamazoo welcomes everyone in the community to celebrate the holiday season and all of the diverse traditions that are a part of life in Kalamazoo at the Tree Lighting Ceremony.  City records suggest that this Kalamazoo tradition may have started in 1932, nearly 90 years ago, with City Commission Meeting Minutes from 1937 mentioning the “Sixth Annual Tree Ceremony”.

Festivities begin at 5:00 p.m. including live music, crafts provided by the Kalamazoo Valley Museum, reindeer from GG Reindeer, ice carving by Ice Guru, hot chocolate, and visits with Santa. This year there will be an additional craft area near the line for Santa, a second hot chocolate station provided by the First Presbyterian Church, and more food trucks including an elephant ear concession, Weller BBQ, Coffee Rescue, and The Incredible Kettle. South Street along Bronson Park will be closed to traffic during the event. This event is sponsored in part by Kellogg Community Credit Union.

There will be vocal performances from Blendings Vocal Ensemble and the Mayor, City Commissioners, Deputy City Manager, and Santa will all be on hand to read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’, light up Bronson Park, and kickoff another great holiday season.

The Tree Lighting Ceremony is a free event open to the entire community. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to celebrate the season downtown in Bronson Park!



2019 Tree Lighting Ceremony Flyer

Kalamazoo Voters Choose 53rd City Commission


On Tuesday, November 5, Kalamazoo voters elected three City Commissioners and, for the first time in more than a decade, a new mayor. The 53rd City Commission will take their oath of office on Monday, November 11 starting at 7pm. A reception will precede the ceremony starting at 4:30pm at City Hall. 

Mayor-elect David Anderson

Current City Commissioner David Anderson was elected to be Kalamazoo's next mayor. He will succeed Kalamazoo's Longest serving Mayor, Bobby J. Hopewell, who chose not to seek reelection. David Anderson is a graduate of Kalamazoo Central and Western Michigan University, and has been a city resident for over 30 years. He has been employed by Kalamazoo Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services since 1982, where he currently serves as the Director of Housing and Facilities. Prior to joining KCMHSAS, Commissioner Anderson worked as a self-employed building contractor for over 20 years. In addition to serving on the City Commission, Commissioner Anderson serves as President of the LIFT Foundation and as Chairperson of the Kalamazoo County Public Housing Commission. Commissioner Anderson is married to Cori Terry of Wellspring/Cori Terry & Dancers, a Kalamazoo-based modern dance company located in the Epic Center in downtown Kalamazoo. David and Cori are the parents of four grown daughters, all of whom are graduates of Kalamazoo Central High School.

Vice Mayor-elect Patrese Griffin

Current City Commissioner Patrese Griffin was reelected and having received the most votes of all City Commission candidates, will serve the first two years of the four-year term as Vice Mayor. Patrese Griffin is a lifelong Kalamazoo resident and committed community activist. She has experience in property management, specifically managing single family, conventional, senior housing, subsidized housing, and housing for those with mental disabilities. Patrese also chairs or serves on many boards and commissions including the Fair Housing Center of Southwest Michigan, Shared Prosperity Kalamazoo (SPK) organizing committee, Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation (TRHT), Law and Separation Design Teams, Vibrant Kalamazoo Board, ISAAC Housing Task Force, Allocation and Accountability Team for Continuum of Care, Housing Resources Incorporated’s (HRI) Housing Equity Advisory Committee, and Southwest Michigan Regional Prosperity Initiative Community Development subcommittee.

City Commissioner-elect Chris Praedel

City Commissioner-elect Chris Praedel is a graduate of Western Michigan University, where he currently serves as the Director of Events. He has previously served as the board president of Kalamazoo Literacy Council and was appointed to the City of Kalamazoo's Blue-Ribbon Revenue Panel in 2015, which was tasked with exploring options for Kalamazoo's long-term financial stability. Commissioner-elect Praedel has also volunteered with Big Brothers Big Sisters and offered two years of national service through AmeriCorps’s Teach for America program. This is the first time he has been elected to public office. 

City Commissioner-elect Jeanne Hess

City Commissioner-elect Jeanne Hess retired from Kalamazoo College earlier this year where she chaired the Department of Physical Education and was the head volleyball coach. She is the author of two books and has volunteered with the Kalamazoo Gospel Mission, Ministry with Community, Diaper Bank of Kalamazoo, Habitat for Humanity, and Kalamazoo Communities in Schools. While at Kalamazoo College, Commissioner-elect Hess was also involved in VISIONS, ERACCE, and Green Dot training. She is a graduate of Western Michigan University and has not previously held public office. 

Mayor-elect Anderson, Vice Mayor-elect Griffin, and City Commissioners-elect Praedel and Hess will join current Commissioners Jack Urban, Erin Knott, and Eric Cunningham on Kalamazoo's 53rd City Commission. 

Full Election Results


City of Kalamazoo

Home to the Kalamazoo Promise, three institutions of higher education, two nationally recognized healthcare systems, cutting-edge medical research, world-class brewing and dining, outstanding parks, and an extensive variety of music, art, theatre, and cultural attractions.


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     Kalamazoo, MI 49007

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