On Saturday, Dec. 1, National Grid will present the 2012 Downtown Christmas Tree Lighting Celebration. 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 Street). 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 will include Byron W. Brown, mayor of the City of Buffalo; Mark C. Poloncarz, Erie County executive; Dennis Elsenbeck, executive director of National Grid; and Michael J. Grimaldi, president of the Rotary Club 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. He will honor National Grid for its generous commitment as presenting sponsor of the downtown Christmas Tree Lighting and the 2012-13 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. Guests can bring their 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.
National Grid has a long history of community support in Buffalo and Western New York, and is pleased to sponsor this year's tree lighting celebration. The company provides electric and natural gas service to nearly 3.5 million customers in New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, including nearly 600,000 Western New York electricity customers.
For 29 consecutive years, Buffalo Place has produced the downtown Christmas Tree Lighting Celebration. The celebration is the marquee event showcasing the holiday season in downtown Buffalo.