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The holiday season is about to be underway and downtown Alpena is prepping for the festivities.

In Culligan Plaza, in place of the fountain for the time being, is the large Christmas tree that goes in that in the middle of downtown Alpena annually. This year, it was donated by Declan Higgins of the Department of Public Works. They are in the early stages of decorating the tree with lights, and while the star is on top, we won’t see the tree in its full decor until after the mayor officially lights the star. Downtown Development Authority Anne Gentry says the tree is a symbol of the start of the holiday season.

“It’s a very festive place, so many people drive by it as they come into downtown, or go on US–23, so it really is I think for a lot of people a symbol of the holiday season kicking off here, and once it gets to be lit up, it’s just very festive and welcoming,” she said. “You see a lot of people taking photos in front of it, whether during the day or in the evening, and then soon Santa’s house will be delivered in Culligan Plaza as well, so this is kind of the center of all the holiday festivities downtown.”

The tree will officially light up after the Bolenz Jewelry Holiday Parade the day after Thanksgiving.