Santa Claus - Photo courtesy of Ground Picture on Shutterstock

Santa Claus will join city officials for the lighting of the 22-foot tall holiday tree Friday in advance of the 30th annual Palm Springs Festival of Lights Parade.

At 5:15 p.m. Friday in Frances Stevens Park, 500 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Santa will join the City Council at for the free tree-lighting event, according to city officials. At 4 p.m., Mayor Lisa Middleton will host the annual Holiday Banner Student Awards.

“We invite the entire Coachella Valley to bring the whole family and come celebrate the magic of the holidays in downtown Palm Springs, truly like no place else!” Middleton said in a statement.

After the tree-lighting, attendees can enjoy caroling, free cookies, hot cocoa and activities in the park, according to city officials.

The annual lights parade will be held Saturday at 5:45 p.m. along Palm Canyon Drive.

City officials said that the three community grand narshals this year will be Palm Springs Police Department Chief Andy Mills, Grammy-winner and DJ for Mod F.M. Don Wardell, Spectrum News anchor and founder of a Coachella Valley-based foundation Bianca Rae, and Spectrum News reporter, Los Angeles Magazine columnist and founder of the Vintage Los Angeles blog Alison Martino.

The parade will feature twinkling floats, marching bands, holiday balloons and a visit from Santa.

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