Boston Square Tree Party alight with diversity

Kids visit Santa and Mrs. Claus at the Boston Square Tree Lighting Party in 2022. Courtesy photo.

The annual Boston Square community tree lighting party draws in a huge crowd. In 2021, the inaugural event saw more than 300 neighbors and friends in attendance. And in 2022, the event welcomed more than 400 guests. The party, now in its third year, is scheduled for Dec. 2 at the Boston Square Community Parklet, located at 1505 Kalamazoo Avenue SE.

The idea for a hyper-local tree lighting party came about due to efforts of neighborhood residents and community organizations that felt that many in the area would appreciate a celebration that reflects the diversity and culture found within the boundaries of this close-knit community.

Members of the close-knit Boston Square community gather at the annual neighborhood tree lighting party. Courtesy photo.

One of the oldest communities in Grand Rapids, Boston Square boasts some of the city’s longest running businesses that have marked more than 100 years in the same location and will soon be home to a new $25 million Community Hub facility in partnership with Corewell Health. The historic Boston Square Business District and parklet are situated in southeast Grand Rapids just two miles from the center of downtown just north of a nexus point where Kalamazoo Ave., Boston St. and Fuller Ave. form a nexus. Kalamazoo Ave., once a main thoroughfare, served as a gateway to the city of Grand Rapids for people arriving from communities south of Grand Rapids.

The festivities kick off at 5 p.m., with a 6:30 p.m. lighting ceremony.

A song and dance routine during the annual Boston Square Tree Lighting. Courtesy photo.

In addition to a ceremonial flipping of the switch by a longtime neighbor, the party will include music, food and talent from the neighborhood. Guests will enjoy a festive atmosphere with a heated tent, warm treats, holiday music and a visit and photos with Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus, as well, samples of food from local vendors (which, as of Nov. 20 included Dee Mobley BBQ, Taste of Africa, 1201 Soul Café and Last Mile Café) highlighting the diverse cultures represented in the surrounding residential neighborhoods.

The tree lighting party is presented by Terra Firma and Vander Kodde Construction, and made possible through the help of local nonprofits, churches, and neighbors, who’ve been planning the festivities all year long. No registration is necessary. Guests are encouraged to dress accordingly as all activities are outdoors.


  • Photos with Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus
  • Live entertainment from the Ottawa Hills High School Choir, West Michigan Jewels of Africa, Drew Sax and Xpressions of Praise Christian Dance Academy
  • Outdoor games 
  • Giveaways from In the Image, New Faith Temple and more!
  • Holiday tunes spun the whole evening

Sponsors of the 2023 Boston Square Christmas Tree Lighting Party:

  • Terra Firma Bouldering Co.
  • Vander Kodde Construction
  • National Heritage Academies
  • Modern Hardware
  • Oakdale Park Church
  • Amp The Good Grant through Amplify GR
  • Neighbors who live in Boston Square/Oakdale 
  • Grand Rapids Neighborhood Match Fund
  • Fuller Ave. Church 
  • Rockford Construction


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