Light Up York 2021: What York residents can expect at this year's tree lighting

Tina Locurto
York Dispatch

York City's Continental Square will soon be decked with boughs of holly and bright, twinkling lights — welcoming signs of the holiday season missed by many last year.

Off the heels of a virtual celebration last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, York City's iconic tree lighting will be back with in-person activities and entertainment. 

Light Up York, organized by The Parliament Arts Organization, will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. on Nov. 27. 

Since this year's event falls on the same day as York's Small Business Saturday, event organizers scaled back the shopping and focused more on providing entertainment opportunities, said Parliament Arts Executive Director Delia Pabon.

“We want people to enjoy Continental Square," Pabon said. "You can do family-friendly activities, but you can also enjoy the shops and the food."

Pabon hopes that residents will take advantage of Small Business Saturday in the morning and afternoon, sticking around for festivities held in the evening.

For example, Prince Street Cafe will stay open later than usual and host photo opportunities with Santa and The Grinch. Live entertainment featuring several local acts will provide music for the entire evening.

Additionally, the second floor of The Grotto Community Center will transform into a kid's carnival with face painting, tabletop games and balloon animals.

“Our mission is to bring people together through arts and entertainment," Pabon said. “Last year we did it virtually — but it's not the same as bringing people out to one space and enjoying an event."

One of the aspects Pabon is most excited for is the artist market with local vendors.

Since many York artists don't have their own storefronts, she said it would be a great opportunity for both small business owners and residents who want to buy locally.

The Menorah and tree are lit during Light Up York in York City, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019. Dawn J. Sagert photo

“There’s a huge art community where they’re making sales or commissions digitally," Pabon said, "but being in the center of the city with this artist village to set up shop and interact is important to me."

Artists interested can still apply for a spot at the market by visiting

The tree lighting will happen at 6 p.m. with a live story reading by York City Mayor Michael Helfrich beforehand.

This year's tree was donated by Wrightsville couple Paul and Jenny Lagowski.

Generally, there will be no specific COVID-19 requirements for attending. Masks and hand sanitizer will be provided upon request, Pabon said.

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