If you’ve driven by the Long Beach Performing Arts Center lately, seen the 50-foot tree and oversized ornaments you can drive a scooter through and wondered and hoped that, indeed, there would be a tree lighting, let us scratch that Yuletide itch for you:

  • Yes, the giant tree will be lit in all its 160,000 bulb glory on Wednesday, Dec. 2.
  • No, you won’t be allowed on the Terrace Theatre’s plaza to watch Mayor Robert Garcia flip the switch around 8 p.m.
  • Yes, you can watch the tree lighting ceremony, live, starting at 7:30 p.m. on LBTV and on any of the city of Long Beach’s official social media platforms.

In just half a dozen years, the tree lighting event has joined the Belmont Shore Christmas Parade as one of the most popular public events of the holiday season. Last year, the event, a tradition started by Garcia, saw big crowds, kiddie trains, Santa photo-ops and performances ranging from brass bands to ballet dancers, all of it punctuated by the dramatic lighting of the tree accompanied by a burst of fireworks.

That’s all changed this year, of course. This year, expect a pared down ceremony, minus the fireworks and crowds. In its place, beginning at 7:30, a multi-camera presentation that will show some tree lightings past, and then emcee Steve Goodling, President and CEO of the Long Beach Convention & Vistors Bureau (LBCVB), introducing prerecorded messages from public officials as well as a performance by SoCal VoCals.

And then, live, Garcia will flip the switch to light the tree.

“There will be no fireworks when the tree is lit because we can’t have people coming to the area,” said Jeff Forney of the LBCVB “We’re keeping it pretty mellow this year: no Santa, no trains. It’ll still look beautiful, but this is a time to reflect.”

For the days after the tree lighting, the plaza will be available for anyone who would like to take a photo next to the tree, in the giant ornaments or just would like to take a gander. All protocols governing the pandemic are to be followed, of course.

For more information, click here.