About Our Event

Started from humble beginnings in 1984 by the Arts Council of Greater Lansing, to the full blown extravaganza the city experiences today, Silver Bells in the City has been providing fun, merriment and joy to thousands for a quarter century. Silver Bells in the City started as a modest event, enveloping the city in the holiday spirit with 2,500 luminaries that framed the Washington Square Mall. A community sing was led by Mayor Terry McKane. It wasn’t until the third year that the State Tree was lit during Silver Bells festivities.

Over the years the event grew adding more attractions including ice sculptures, carriage rides and local venues open to the public free of charge. In 1995, a small Santa Parade was introduced on Saturday morning. Two years later, the first Silver Bells Electric Light Parade dazzled onlookers on Friday night and attendance jumped significantly. Santa and his reindeer made their first appearance in 2000 at the Lansing City Market, and in 2001 fireworks lit up the sky behind the Capitol. In 2003, through a partnership with IBEW Local #665, roof top lighting was added to downtown buildings framing the city in lights for all to see.

In 2010, the torch was passed to Downtown Lansing Inc. to keep the cherished tradition that is Silver Bells in the City alive. Silver Bells in the City promises to be all that it has been and so much more. In 2010 the first Silver Bells Village will make its debut on Allegan Street. This holiday market features unique goods and artist wares from 20 vendors for those who want to get started on their holiday shopping.

Downtown cultural institutions and venues will also be open and free to the public featuring nearly 50 arts and cultural entertainers. In addition, free cookies and cider will be available at five locations throughout the city. The evening will culminate with a family-friendly concert at the Lansing Center following the fireworks over the Capitol dome.