By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published Nov 16, 2021 at 11:31 AM

After taking a year off due to COVID-19, the 32nd annual Christmas in the Ward is back in full force with an old-fashioned tree lighting ceremony, winter fireworks over the river, photo opps with the jolliest of jolly guys and more.

The joyful event, emceed by 95.7 BIG FM’s afternoon drive host Hannah, is set for Friday, Dec. 3 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in Catalano Square, 138 N. Broadway. This family-friendly event is free.

The tree lighting ceremony begins at 5:30 p.m. with the Milwaukee Police Band performing a holiday concert. Milwaukee dignitaries, Santa Claus, Jolly and Ginger Gingerbread, and Frosty the Snowman will also be in attendance.

Santa Claus will lead the countdown to light the 40-foot Christmas tree which is decorated with over 3,000 colored lights. In Jolly’s Gingerbread House, kids of all ages can visit with Santa and get a photo for a $5 donation to Ronald McDonald House Charities of Eastern Wisconsin from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. 

Around 7 p.m., the Physicians Realty Trust fireworks display bursts over the river with The Don Linke Trio playing selections from Vince Guaraldi’s "A Charlie Brown Christmas."

“We are excited to return to our annual tradition of Christmas in the Ward,” said Historic Third Ward Association Executive Director Jim Plaisted. “We missed gathering the community together last year. We’re looking forward to welcoming guests to once again visit and enjoy our beautiful tree, fireworks over the river, and special musical performances.”

Discounted parking will be available in the Third Ward parking structures located at 212 N. Milwaukee St. and 225 E. Chicago St.

This event is presented by the Historic Third Ward Association and made possible by Physicians Realty Trust, Town Bank N.A., Hines, Joseph Property Development, La Macchia Group, Mandel Group, We Energies Foundation, HGA, Milwaukee Public Market, Milwaukee World Festival, MKE Benefits, Andrew Wadsworth, Russ Darrow Group and Urban Law.


Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.

Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.