INSTALLATION: Workers Friday prepared the downtown Christmas tree. BRIAN CHILSON

A bit of old-time Christmas magic returns to downtown Little Rock MONDAY NIGHT with the lighting of a 55-foot white fir at Capitol and Main festooned with lights and custom-made blown-glass topper. PLEASE NOTE CORRECTION: I erroneously wrote originally this was tonight, Saturday.

It’s a project of the Downtown Little Rock Partnership. The lighting ceremony MONDAY is being done in conjunction with Arkansas Children’s Hospital, which will provide hot chocolate and cookies. The event begins with music at 5:30 p.m. and the lighting ceremony follows at 6 p.m.


It recalls the old days when Main Street was lined with department stores and other retailers. The seasonal parade past decorated shop windows was followed by night-time shopping. Retail is pretty much gone from Main Street — save a wig shop, a venerable military surplus store and a few others — but the so-called Creative Corridor is now alive with new offices, restaurants and residential projects. So if you can’t buy a pair of shoes at Kempner’s or a fine sports coat at M.M. Cohn’s after the lighting ceremony, you can get a draft beer at Samantha’s or an old-school pizza with historic Little Rock roots at Bruno’s (to name just a couple of possibilities in the area.)

I don’t much hold with opening Christmas season before Thanksgiving, but the downtown boosters were anxious to get this new attraction up and running before some other scheduled events downtown.


The event, dubbed Bright the Night, is also meant to stir support for Children’s Hospital, with beneficiaries of the institution’s work taking part in the ceremony. Gov. Asa Hutchinson will be on hand.