Downtown d’Lights returned to Perry Square.

Hundreds of folks gathered to see the Christmas tree light up to kick off the Christmas season.

Santa Claus, joined by Erie Mayor Joe Schember, flipped the candy cane switches to turn on the big Christmas tree lights that crews spent hours setting up.

There were many family-friendly activities, including live music, vendors and a chance for kids to meet Santa Claus.

“For the past three years, COVID-19 has really impacted and forced us apart. Now we are starting to come back together. It’s like it was in the past, it’s very, very good,” said Mayor Joe Schember, Erie.

It’s also a great way to showcase downtown Erie as a destination for holiday shopping.

“There are a lot of great things going on downtown right around Perry Square here. With what the EDDC is doing, there’s some incredible stuff, and there is some great stuff still coming as well,” said Mayor Schember.

Folks we talked to say they were excited to come and enjoy the festivities.

“I think it’s important to go out and do fun things in the community and stuff like this. It helps bring the community together,” said Kaler Warner, Edinboro resident.

After the lighting of the tree, Santa Claus stuck around and was able to meet with excited young children ready to tell him what they want for Christmas.