Tree Lighting Ceremony

Tree Lighting Ceremony & Santa's Arrival

Friday, December 4 • 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

This year's Tree Lighting Ceremony will be limited to 150 participants in order to comply with current recommendations for COVID-19 safety. A ticket lottery will take place for these limited spots. Click here to enter between November 28th and December 2nd at noon. Winners will be drawn during a Facebook live at 3:00 p.m. December 2nd, and winners will be notified by email as well. Winners may have invite up to four friends/family members. Limit one entry per person.

Masks will be required at the event and attendees will need to stay with their family/friend groups they arrive with and socially distance from other groups. Hot beverages may be brought inside the event but must be enjoyed by pulling down masks instead of removing them.

We will also be live streaming the event on the DTSB Facebook page for those who aren't able to win tickets. 

This year's Tree Lighting Ceremony will take place 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and will feature live music and a performance by the IU South Bend Kickline. There will also be holiday giveaways, a holiday photo op, and a Santa letter writing station.


Be sure to check out the Gingerbread Village Display in a new location this year - in the lobby of the Courtyard by Marriott!


Santa will make his grand entrance to downtown a little after 6:00 p.m. for the lighting of the Gridiron Tree.


Santa’s House will then officially open for visitors  at approximately 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. To avoid people crowding in a line to see Santa, visits will be done through timed reservations, which can be made online. The link for each weekend's Santa visits will appear on this site the Tuesday before each weekend.

December First Fridays: Downtown for the Holidays

Friday, December 4 • 5:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

Downtown businesses will be hosting activities throughout downtown, including holiday open houses, specials on food, drink, and retail, and more!

Visits with Santa
The Gridiron

Look for the little red and white house located next to the South Bend Chocolate Café. Inside, you'll find Santa throughout the month of December! Visits with Santa are free! 

NEW THIS YEAR - To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the following protocols will be in place for our Visits with Santa:

  • To avoid people crowding in a line to see Santa, online reservations are highly recommended for Santa visits. The link for each weekend's Santa visits will appear on this site the Tuesday before each weekend at 2:00 p.m. Each 10-minute slot can accommodate a family/group of up to 8 people.

  • We will also be able to accept walk-up visitors, and a physically-distanced line will be created for those without reservations.

  • Plexiglas will separate Santa from guests.

  • Guests are asked to wear masks while waiting to see Santa, but can remove them during pictures.

  • Hand sanitizer will be available.

Click this link to make a reservation to see Santa during the weekend of December 18th through the 20th, plus December 23rd and 24th.

Bring your own camera and take photos of Santa with your loved ones. Visits with Santa are free!

Each child who visits Santa will receive an “I Believe” sticker which will enable them to receive trinkets and discounts throughout downtown South Bend, including a  complimentary chocolate bar from the South Bend Chocolate Cafe. The full list of this year's "I Believe" promotions will be coming soon!

NOTE - Cookie decorating will not be taking place this year due to COVID-19, but candy canes will be distributed for Santa's visitors, and Santa letter writing will also take place by Santa's house this year with individually-packaged crayons available.

Fridays - December 4, 11, 18 • 5:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
*Santa's house will open December 4 right after the Tree Lighting Ceremony, approximately 6:30 p.m.
Saturdays - December 5, 12, 19 • 12:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Sundays - December 6, 13, 20 • 12:00 p.m. - 4:00  p.m.
Wednesday- December 23 • 12:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Thursday - December 24 • 12:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Throughout downtown

December 4 - December 24

View holiday trees decorated by local sponsors and organizations! Vote for your favorite on DTSB's Facebook page. The winner will be announced December 24 on DTSB's social media. Click here to vote!
Holiday Window Display Contest
Throughout downtown
December 4 - December 24
Take a tour of the downtown decor to view all of the contestants in this year's Holiday Window Display Contest and vote for your favorite on DTSB's Facebook page. Voting will start December 5th and the winner will be announced December 24th on DTSB's social media.
The following businesses are participating in the 2020 Holiday Window Display Contest 

Ali on the Boulevard



Idle Hours Bookshop

Linden Grill

South Blend Cafe

Click here to vote!

Tree & Wreath Sale
The Gridiron
December 4 - December 13

The Downtown South Bend annual Christmas Tree & Wreath Sale is back again this year, with proceeds benefiting local nonprofit groups.  Choose from a wide variety of fresh, locally-grown trees and wreaths from JK Tree Farm. While supplies last. Cash and credit both accepted.


Christmas Tree & Wreath Sales will take place in downtown South Bend the following dates and times: 

Fridays – Dec. 4, 11 • 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Saturdays – Dec. 5, 12 • 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. 
Sundays – Dec. 6, 13 • 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.  

UPDATE - Tree & Wreath Sales are officially over, but we do have some inventory remaining, which we are selling for 25% off. Call or text Kylie at 574-527-7165 between noon and 5:00 p.m. December 15th to December 20th to make arrangements for purchase.

Gingerbread Village
Courtyard by Marriott - Lobby
Same dates and times as Visits with Santa
The Gingerbread Village will have a new location for 2020 - in the lobby of the Courtyard by Marriott. View the entries and vote for your favorite!



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