'Tis the season to light up downtown Anchorage and usher in the holidays! Saturday marks the annual Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony in Town Square Park, where the community gathers for festive music, Santa Claus and the lighting of Anchorage's holiday tree.

The event caps off Small Business Saturday, a localized national effort to bring attention to small business and encourages the community to shop local.

Executive Director for Anchorage Downtown Partnership Amanda Moser is encouraging the community to partake.

“American Express does an annual Small Business Saturday, and Anchorage Downtown Partnership has been the host for the downtown community," said Moser. "And this year we partnered with Anchorage Economic Development Corporation to have a citywide event.”

Moser says over 62 businesses across Anchorage will participate in Small Business Saturday, offering discounts as the holiday shopping season heats up.

“When folks shop at their local stores, that 40-62 cents of every dollar stays within the community," Moser stated. "So that goes to support your friends, your neighbors, your community members, so it’s really important.”

Moser adds that if you do shop at one of the featured local businesses on Saturday, you should save your receipt, as you'll be able to enter a drawing later in the evening at the tree lighting.

"We encourage folks to shop small, bring the receipt downtown for the holiday tree lighting and we have an opportunity to win two round trip tickets from Alaska Airlines, or four tickets to Cirque Dreams Holidays at the Performing Arts Center.”

Santa Claus will cap off the day by flipping the switch and lighting up Anchorage's holiday tree. Children will have the opportunity to take their pictures with Santa, meet his reindeer and enjoy free hot cocoa and cookies.

“It’s really the kickoff of the holiday season," Moser merrily said. "So you really get to begin to feel that holiday spirit.”

The Holiday Tree Lighting is free to the public, and runs from 5-7:30 p.m. in Town Square Park. For more information on the tree lighting and Small Business Saturday, visit AnchorageDowntown.org.

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