Spectrum’s annual tree lighting ceremony set for Nov. 26

Community members gather during a previous Tree Lighting Ceremony at Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital. This year, the ceremony will begin at 6 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 26, on the corner of Oak Street and Winter Avenue. (Pioneer file photo)

Submitted to the Pioneer

BIG RAPIDS — Around the area, families may be gearing up for the holiday season by breaking out different displays and decorations.

Community members are invited to see a public display lit to brighten up the neighborhood during the 21st annual Tree Lighting Ceremony at Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital.

The ceremony will begin at 6 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 26, on the corner of Oak Street and Winter Avenue, and will include a visit from Santa, horse-drawn sleigh rides, holiday carols by local students and refreshments for all.

Dee VanHorn and Bruce Fredrick, partners in marriage and community leadership, will be the honorary tree lighters this year in recognition of their many contributions to the hospital and the larger community.

“We are so proud to honor Dee and Bruce at this year’s Tree Lighting Ceremony,” said Mary Kay VanDriel, president of Spectrum Health Big Rapids and Reed City Hospitals. “Dee’s invaluable community service includes her role as past president of the foundation for our two area hospitals, and her service on the committee for our annual Festival of Trees Fundraiser. She has served as chair of the committee for the past two years.”

VanHorn’s extensive involvement with health care extends beyond the hospitals. She currently is president of the Meceola Human Trafficking Task Force, and has done various presentations to educate the community about this issue. She also is an active member of General Federation of Woman’s Club — Big Rapids, the Big Rapids Lions Club, board of directors for Project Starburst and other community organizations.

Fredrick leads the local free tax preparation program, which focuses on helping senior citizens and people with low income. He also is active with the Lions Club at both the local and regional levels. He is past chair and member of the Morton Township Planning Commission and member of the Morton Township Zoning Board of Appeals.

Both Fredrick and VanHorn are active members of the United Church of Big Rapids.

“We invite the community to come honor Dee and Bruce, and kick off the holiday season with us as they light our holiday tree,” VanDriel said. “You can also enjoy a sleigh ride or have the kids visit Santa. It’s always a great family event.”

The holiday celebration will include hot chocolate and cookies with Christmas carols. The Big Rapids Public Schools choir carolers, led by Katie McInnis, will perform. Children can have their photo taken with Santa at the conclusion of the ceremony. Families can go on a sleigh ride around the parking lot, provided by Wendell Weber, weather permitting. In addition, those who attend will receive a special keepsake ornament.

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