Utica to host Christmas tree lighting celebration

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby-Utica News | Published December 7, 2022

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UTICA — Utica will be hosting its 2022 Downtown Utica Christmas Tree Lighting Celebration at 7 p.m. Dec. 10 at Memorial Park.

According to city officials, this year’s event is going to the biggest and best yet.

This year’s Master of Ceremonies is Fox 2 Detroit personality Lori Pinson.

Pinson is an award-winning meteorologist on FOX 2 and holds both the American Meteorological Society’s Certified Broadcast Seal of Approval and the National Weather Association’s Seal of Approval.

Pinson received an Emmy award for creating an on-air weathercast for the deaf and is a recipient of the Michigan Association of Broadcasters’ best weather award and best use of new media award for her Emmy-nominated online series “Lori’s Science Corner,” which was created in collaboration with the National Science Teaching Association.

Pinson said she is honored to be a part of Utica’s tree lighting Ceremony.

“A special thank you to Mayor Gus Calandrino for including me in the festivities. Growing up in Michigan, like many of you, I experienced the feeling of wonder and excitement looking at all the Christmas lights and decorations, usually under a blanket of snow. Regardless of our weather Dec. 10, I look forward to celebrating this special season of joy and blessings with you! So come on out and take in all the Christmas fun with me, Rachael and Grunwald from WCYD, Mayor Calandrino and of course, Santa! There will be fireworks too! See you there,” she said via email.

Rachael Hunter and Steve Grunwald have been a part of the morning team at WYCD Detroit since 2005. Hunter is a 2013 Gracie Award recipient. They both received the NAB Marconi Award in 2012 and 2016, as well as best morning show from the Michigan Association of Broadcasters in 2017 and 2019. They currently co-host mornings on the station with Josh Holleman, who joined the show in October 2020.

The Country Radio Broadcasters Class of 2022 Country Radio Hall of Fame honorees included Rachael & Grunwald, who joined the Hall of Fame when induction ceremonies were held June 30 in Nashville.

Grunwald said he is excited to be a special guest at the Christmas tree lighting.

“Rachael Hunter and I are super excited for the tree lighting in Utica. Christmas is our favorite time of the year. Rachael and I are looking forward to being special guests and helping bring awareness to the Toys for Tots Stuff an Ambulance. I am looking forward to seeing Santa and convincing him I really was a good boy this year. We can’t wait to see everyone. If you are coming to the event this year, please come over and say hello to us,” he said via email.

Santa and Mrs. Claus will arrive by sleigh and receive the key to the city. Santa will be available for visits with children and for pictures.

A spectacular, large-scale fireworks display will follow the presentation.

Talia Davis, a Utica child who was the lucky winner of a contest at the Utica Public Library, will get to start the fireworks by pushing the plunger on the Christmas fireworks detonator.

The Utica Fire Department is sponsoring the Stuff an Ambulance effort to benefit Toys for Tots. All toys collected will go to Toys for Tots, which distributes toys to less-fortunate children at Christmastime. Attendees are asked to bring a new and unwrapped toy to help fill up the ambulance. Donation boxes are also located at Utica City Hall.

The Utica High School Marching Band will perform Christmas favorites for all in attendance.

Memorial Park is located next to the Utica Public Library, which is located at 7530 Auburn Road.