First Niagara Bank will present the 2011 "Downtown Christmas Tree Lighting Celebration" on Saturday, Dec. 3. This annual event marks the official opening of the free ice skating season in downtown Buffalo and is held at Rotary Rink at Fountain Plaza (Main at Chippewa streets). The celebration begins at 5 p.m. with free ice skating. At 6 p.m., Buffalo Place officials will countdown the lighting of the tree and Santa Claus will light a fireworks display over Fountain Plaza.
Distinguished guest speakers at the event include Buford Sears, senior vice president, specialized banking, Buffalo market executive of First Niagara Bank; and Lori Schultz, representative of the City of Buffalo. The guests will speak briefly and then lead a countdown to the official lighting of the Christmas tree, followed by a fireworks display over Rotary Rink. Anthony J. Colucci III, president and vice chairman of Buffalo Place Inc., will serve as emcee for the program and will honor First Niagara Bank for its commitment as presenting sponsor of the "Downtown Christmas Tree Lighting" and the 2011-12 free ice skating season at Rotary Rink.
Immediately following the fireworks and tree lighting, the fun will continue with visits with Santa; holiday gifts; horse and wagon rides; clowns and balloon art; face painting; and ice skating. Bring your own skates and enjoy free ice-skating. There is a $2 skate rental fee for children and $3 skate rental fee for adults. Santa and his elves will visit with children from 6 to 8 p.m.
For 28 consecutive years, Buffalo Place has produced the "Downtown Christmas Tree Lighting Celebration." The party is a marquee event showcasing the holiday season in downtown Buffalo.