30th Annual Light Up Louisville celebration to illuminate downtown Louisville Nov. 26

November 8, 2010

(LOUISVILLE, Ky.) Light Up Louisville, the city's annual holiday celebration, is turning 30 this year - and Mayor Jerry Abramson is encouraging residents to bring their families downtown the day after Thanksgiving for what is expected to be the best event yet.

"It has been a pleasure to watch Light Up Louisville blossom into the premiere holiday event in the region," said Abramson, who will be presiding over his final Light Up Louisville as mayor. "The generous support of our local corporate sponsors allows us to continue offering this wonderful, free event beginning the day after Thanksgiving."

This year's Light Up Louisville will be held on Friday, November 26. GE Consumer & Industrial and Louisville Gas and Electric Company are the presenting sponsors of the classic holiday event that will include entertainment, food, crafts, a parade and children's activities on the grounds surrounding Metro Hall at the corner of Sixth and Jefferson streets. The event is free.

"We believe the key to being a good corporate citizen is giving back to the communities we serve and, as we enter a new era with PPL, we're proud to continue our commitments to activities such as Light Up Louisville," said Victor A. Staffieri, chairman, CEO and president of LG&E and KU Energy LLC.

"As a sixth-year sponsor, we've seen Light Up Louisville get better and better, and we're proud to continue to help bring this wonderful free event to this region."

"We are proud to continue our support of Light Up Louisville again this year. It is a wonderful holiday tradition that our employees, retirees and their families can enjoy along with the rest of the Louisville community," said Jim Campbell, President and CEO of GE Appliances & Lighting." Light Up festivities begin at 3 p.m., when food, beverage, and craft booths open along with an entertainment stage featuring Christmas music by local groups and choirs.

In its second year, the Run Run Rudolph 5K Run/Walk, presented by Baptist Health, also begins at 3 p.m. The event starts and ends on Jefferson Street (Santa Claus Lane) in the heart of Light Up Louisville. The fee to participate is $20 for adults; $10 for children under 12 and $25 for adults and $10 for children after November 23.

Register online at www.lightuplouisville.org or www.Baptisthealthky.com. Participants will receive a high quality long sleeve T-shirt and valuable coupons. Proceeds from the race will benefit the Baptist Hospital Foundation.

"The community turns to Baptist Health when they want to feel better. Events such as the Run Run Rudolph 5K run/walk are a great way to improve our health by getting up and moving — while also helping others.

We invite everyone to join us the day after Thanksgiving and burn off some of those holiday calories. Make it a family affair — you will all feel better for it," said Sue Stout Tamme, Baptist Hospital East president.

The annual Winter Wonderland Holiday Parade is an evening parade of lights that begins at 6 p.m. Parade units will be decorated in festive lights and will include bands, carolers, car clubs, floats, children's groups and civic organizations. The parade will also feature holiday-themed inflatables sponsored by Bank of America.

Santa Claus is expected to arrive at 8:30 p.m. Santa will join the mayor and representatives of GE and LG&E to insert the magic plug to light the twinkling lights and launch a holiday fireworks display.

After the lights and fireworks, for the first time children can have their photos taken with Santa from the entertainment stage in front of Metro Hall for $5 each.

Metro Hall will also feature Santa's Workshop, where families and children will have an opportunity to write letters to U.S. troops serving overseas. In addition, outside of Metro Hall, families will be able to sign a large community card.

Toys for Tots

Members of the U.S. Marine Corps will again be stationed at Light Up Louisville to accept donations of new toys for Toys for Tots. Attendees are encouraged to bring an unwrapped toy to donate.

"The holiday season always seems to bring out the best in our community," Abramson said. "We hope people will bring an extra toy or two for the Toys for Tots campaign so children around our community will have a joyous holiday."

Light Up Continues to "Go Green"

Almost all of the lights have been converted to LED, which are more durable, longer lasting and use less electricity. LEDs will be used on the 30-plus trees in Jefferson Square Park. LG&E estimated the approximate cost of illuminating the display lights throughout the season and donated the equivalent amount in Green Energy Tags to offset the lights' carbon emissions.

"We are pleased that for the third year, the city is allowing LG&E to make the event even greener by off-setting the carbon emissions produced by the lights with Green Energy Tags," Staffieri said. The tags support the operation and growth of renewable energy.

LG&E is again sponsoring recycling bins next to every garbage receptacle at Light Up Louisville.

Holiday Trees: Neighborhood Proud

New this year, Metro Hall will be home to "Holiday Trees: Neighborhood Proud." This display will feature trees decorated by children from the 15 Metro Parks Community Centers and nearby neighborhoods. This year, the annual "Holidays Around the World" display is being expanded and showcased at the Frazier International History Museum during the holiday season, featuring more than 20 trees and decorations that reflect Louisville's cultural diversity.

Special Hotel Rates, Spirit of Jefferson Cruise

The Galt House Hotel & Suites will have special reduced room rates Wednesday through Sunday for Light Up, $85 for the RIVUE Tower and $115 for an Executive Suite which includes complimentary wi-fi and admission tickets to Churchill Downs. Contact the Galt House, 1-800-The-Galt or (502) 589-5200.

The Spirit of Jefferson is offering a "Light Up Louisville" cruise from 9 to 10:30 p.m. Boarding time starts at 8:30 and tickets are $10. Call 574-2992 or visit www.belleoflouisville.org to purchase tickets.

For more information about Light Up Louisville, call MetroCall 311 or visit www.lightuplouisville.org.

About This Year's Official Christmas Tree

This year's Light Up Louisville Christmas tree will be a 45-foot tall blue spruce donated by Thelma and Ben Alley of Louisville. When the Alleys moved into their house on Southern Parkway in July 1984, the couple remembers the previous owner, Mr. William Knapper, pointing out one unique feature. It was a blue spruce in the center of the front yard, standing about eight feet tall. Mr. Knapper told the couple the tree was given to him as a sapling by an Army buddy. He planted the knee-high blue spruce and never thought it would amount to anything.

But the Alleys watched it grow and the tree became a part of their family. In 1986, the tree was infected by spider mites and the top half looked dead. But Ben and Thelma refused to let it go. The couple got rid of the pests and nursed the tree back to health.

Over the years, the spruce, their house and their family were tied together. Visitors would be guided to their house by looking for the big blue spruce in the front yard — it couldn't be missed. Over the last couple of years, the Alleys talked about cutting down the tree. "It's taking over the yard," they said.

In mid October, they had a new plan. Mayor-elect Greg Fischer knocked on the couple's door while campaigning and commented on the beauty of the spruce. The Alley's expressed their desire for a little more yard space. Fischer informed them of an article in the paper that very day with information that Metro Parks was searching for the city's holiday tree.

Thelma immediately called. She thought this was a great way to honor Mr. Knapper's tree. The Alleys are thrilled their tree was selected and immediately called their friends and family to share the news. They are looking forward to Light up Louisville and eager to share the tree they took care of for over 26 years with the entire city.

2010 Light Up Louisville sponsorship partners include:

Presenting sponsors: GE Consumer & Industrial and Louisville Gas and Electric Company
Parade inflatables: Bank of America Run Run Rudolph 5K Run/Walk: Baptist Health Kentucky Route: Waste Management, Inc.
Santa's Workshop: Caldwell Tanks, Inc., The Event Company
Corporate Sponsor: Galt House Kalightoscope
Greeting Card to the Troops: Virgin Mobile
Holiday Pubs: Budweiser
Media partners: Insight Communications, Lite 106.9 WVEZ, 107.7 SFR, Louisville Metro TV
Light Up Louisville Charities: Toys for Tots
Special Thanks To:
LouisvilleHotBytes, Messer Construction, The Event Company, United Graphics, Visions Works, Visual Presentations 

Galt House KaLightoscope

KaLightoscope Christmas is Louisville's multi-layered celebration of the holidays. Larger than life lighted holiday scultptures inspired by ancient Chinese art. The key attraction is KaLightoscope, but also includes "Colors of the Season," a world-class dinner show; an arts and retail marketplace, a life-sized gingerbread village, imaginative Santa events and other delights. Don't miss the debut of this soon-to-be, holiday classic. Nov. 18-Jan. 3, 9-9 daily, noon-6 p.m. on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. $17.95 for adults and $14.95 for kids.

Special Hotel Rate

The Galt House Hotel & Suites will have special reduced room rates from Wednesday to Sunday during week of Light Up, $85 for the RIVUETower and $115 for an Executive Suite which includes complimentary wi-fi and admission tickets to Churchill Downs. Contact the Galt House, 1-800-The-Galt or (502) 589-5200.

Light Up Louisville Cruise

The Spirit of Jefferson is offering a "Light Up Louisville" cruise from 9:30 to 11 p.m. Boarding time starts at 9 and tickets are $10. 

*Please note the above times are subject to change


LG&E is a wholly-owned subsidiary of E.ON U.S. LLC that serves 314,000 natural gas and 389,000 electric customers in Louisville, Ky., and 16 surrounding counties.