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Milwaukee will light up its Christmas tree Nov. 17 at Fiserv Forum

A close-up of an oversized light switch in the "on" position next to a large Christmas tree with colorful lights and shiny ornaments.

The Deer District will officially become the Cheer District next Friday evening, Nov. 17, when the city of Milwaukee holds its 110th annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony on the plaza at Fiserv Forum.

The family-friendly event will get underway at 5 p.m. with entertainment provided by DJ Quadi; Bango; Santa Claus; and Dancer, Vixen and Cupid of Reindeer Games. The first 500 guests will also get free hot chocolate, which — based on the weather forecast — will be more of a luxury than a necessity. The tree lighting itself will take place an hour after that, with the program starting at 6 p.m.

“With both tradition and enthusiasm, Milwaukee is ready to officially launch the holiday season,” Mayor Cavalier Johnson said in a press release. “We have lit a city Christmas tree for 110 years, and it’s an event that brings together people from all across the city. I am so pleased that, once again, we have great partners who have stepped up to make our celebration spectacular.”

The illuminated tannenbaum will add to the general holiday glow of the downtown area, which will have flipped the switch on the Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival the night before.

The city’s Christmas tree will contribute 18,000 lights to those efforts as part of a decorating blueprint laid out by Milwaukee entertainment and style expert David Caruso. “The vibrancy and energy that it will showcase is important for so many reasons,” he said in the release, “as we focus on uplifting the spirits of everyone who visits Cheer District, illuminated by the We Energies Foundation, during the next few months.”

Caruso’s adornments will cover the 38-foot Colorado blue spruce donated by city resident Denise Blue and harvested by the Milwaukee Department of Public Works Forestry Division.

If you plan to head down to Fiserv Forum for the ceremony, keep in mind that the intersection of Vel R. Phillips and Highland avenues will be closed during the event. Free parking will be available in the structures located at 1030 North 6th St. and 1215 North 5th St.