DECK THE HALLS: Madison Consolidated High School seniors Mariah Scott (above), Lindsey Williams (below) and other students participating in Student Government Day help decorate the city’s Christmas tree near the Broadway Fountain on Tuesday. (Staff photos by Ken Ritchie)
DECK THE HALLS: Madison Consolidated High School seniors Mariah Scott (above), Lindsey Williams (below) and other students participating in Student Government Day help decorate the city’s Christmas tree near the Broadway Fountain on Tuesday. (Staff photos by Ken Ritchie)
Department stores have started the continuous loop of Christmas tunes and countless strands of lights, and decorations have sprouted up across town.

But on Friday, as the Thanksgiving feasts begin to wear off and residents have again reunited with their balanced diets - at least until Christmas - the city of Madison will showcase its holiday spirit with Light Up Madison.

The lighting of Madison's Christmas tree near the Broadway Fountain will commence at about 6 p.m., or when it is dark enough outside. The 15-foot blue spruce tree was donated by Jim Rogers, who owns a small tree farm on Wray Street, just off Mouser Street on the hilltop. The tree weighs about 700 pounds.

Last week, city crews put lights around the tree. And on Tuesday, participants in Student Government Day volunteered to further decorate the tree.

Also to prepare for the event, city crews have worked since mid-October - even renting a lift - to check the lightbulbs that are strung across the tops of the buildings downtown.

Andrew Forrester, the mayor's executive assistant for community relations, said he is working to secure a choir group to perform at the ceremony.

"If nothing else, we'll sing a couple Christmas carols," Forrester said.

Mayor Damon Welch will address the crowd at the ceremony.

After the lighting, Santa Claus will be available at City Hall from 7 to 9 p.m. to meet and greet children.

Downtown businesses and art galleries will be open Friday for extended hours during the Fourth Friday Art Jam and to celebrate the beginning of the holiday season.