Thousands of Milwaukee residents joined the century-old tradition of the city’s annual Christmas tree lighting on November 17, returning to its historic location at City Hall.

The holiday celebration was surrounded by hundreds of thousands of lights installed downtown, with festive performances of music and dance, and a fireworks show along the river to kick-off the season.

These images from the tree lighting ceremony and the holiday lights festival show the multi-cultural spirit that does exist in Milwaukee. The events serve as an example of people coming together in community, to erode the city’s history of self-segregation.

© Photo

Lee Matz

Read the article and view the photo essay that were produced as companion features for this news report.