It’s just before 5p.m. on November 25. The sky is dark and the crowd buzzes with anticipation. The countdown begins.
Every year, the Edina community comes together for a celebration of the holiday season at the 50th and France Tree Lighting Ceremony. “It reminds me of a small town event,” says Rachel Thelemann, executive director of the 50th and France Business Association. “People come together, the mayor calls kids up to help do the countdown–it’s definitely a community builder.”
The event will include a holiday market, carolers, a visit from Santa and, of course, the anticipated tree lighting. Thelemann especially enjoys the carolers. “They’re in their traditional outfits and their voices are just beautiful,” she says, adding that her favorite part of the entire event is when Mayor Jim Hovland calls up “the kiddos” to start the countdown to the lighting of the tree.
The holiday market was added in 2016. This year, you’ll find local artwork at the market in a partnership with the Edina Art Center. This is a great option for holiday gifts. And this year, the community room will feature activities for kids. One thing that will hopefully never change is the community feeling associated with this event. “It’s hard not to feel like you’re a part of something and feel good about what you’re a part of,” Thelemann says, “It’s kind of one of those moments where you can be grateful.”
And that moment when the tree is finally lit… “I’ve heard a lot of ‘awws’ and ‘ohhs’,” Thelemann says, “It’s very, for lack of a better word, magical.”