Believe it or not, it's about time for Santa to get to Grand Junction and kick off the holiday shopping season.

The annual tree lighting in Downtown Grand Junction is where Santa usually first lands to usher in some good holiday spirit. This year's tree lighting is on Friday, November 16.

Musical entertainment for the tree lighting this year is going to be fantastic. Mesa OutLoud! will be the performing guests beginning at 4:45. Mesa OutLoud! is a touring show ensemble from the Colorado Mesa Department of Theatre Arts and will be highly entertaining.

We expect Santa's arrival at around 5:25 pm at which time he will light the tree in the Wells Fargo Bank courtyard, as well as all of the lights on Grand Junction's Main Street. It is super cool when all of downtown Grand Junction is lit up with Christmas lights.

People may wonder why the big Christmas tree would be lit at such an odd time as 5:25. Well, it's just the way Santa operates. He realizes that not everybody can make it downtown to see the tree lighting in person, and so he's made a deal with KKCO Channel 11 to air the lighting of the tree during their 5:00 newscast. That way more people will see it, and Grand Junction will be filled with that much more Christmas spirit.

After the lighting of the tree, Santa will stick around for a bit to visit with all of the boys and girls who want to share their heart's desires with him. Parents can take pictures of their kids with Santa, and all of the good children will get to take home a small bag of treats prepared by Santa's elves.

The annual tree lighting is a great community event, so bundle up and come on down for some holiday cheer.