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Green Bay holds annual Peace Tree lighting ceremony, kicks off winter lights series on CityDeck

Posted at 11:54 PM, Nov 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-17 00:54:31-05

GREEN BAY, Wis. (NBC 26) — Ceremony organizers say the lighting of the Peace Tree is a tradition that's been around for over 50 years.

"Every year, we get to a light it just as a reminder of peace; peace in the community, peace in the world, peace in our state," Downtown Green Bay, Inc. Events Manager Jeff Tilkens said.

It's a big evergreen outside the Brown County Courthouse.

The lighting ceremony took place Wednesday night. Tilkens, an organizer, says it's a good opportunity to remind everybody what the season means.

"It started during the Vietnam era as a sign of peace during Vietnam, and it's just continued," he said. "It's become a major part of the city and downtown. And it's beautiful at the courthouse."

As part of the ceremony, children from the Preble High School choir sang holiday music and Leonardo da Vinci students read essays.

Green Bay mayor Eric Genrich joined in on the festivities.

"It's always great to see the kids singing song and giving their expressions of what peace means to them," he said.

Later on, nonprofit Downtown Green Bay, Inc. Kicked off its series of winter lights on the CityDeck.

"Shimmering champagne lights up on the trees and on the railing are gonna be up through the entire winter," Tilkens said. "We're hoping early spring to be taking them down. ... Seeing the people come down, taking pictures, making memories, it's a labor of love for us and we all enjoy it."