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The lights — more than 750,000 of them — come on tonight in downtown Salt Lake City, officially kicking off the holiday season.

Santa will make an appearance after showing up this morning at his own West Valley City parade. Then he's off to Provo, where he's the guest of honor at the city's WinterFest celebration Saturday morning. Provo's Christmas lights will be switched on at a ceremony Monday evening, Nov. 29.

Ogden will hold its Holiday Electric Light Parade this evening beginning at 5 p.m. Park City hosts its first annual holiday lights-on ceremony Tuesday, Nov. 30, at 7 p.m. at the Swaner Nature Preserve. (Shuttle buses will leave the old Kmart parking lot at Kimball Junction beginning at 6:30 p.m.)

Salt Lake City's 12th annual Lights On program at the Gallivan Center plaza, 239 S. Main, runs from 6 to 7 tonight, with music, ice skating, piatas, and the lighting ceremony featuring 900 strands of lights, 75,000 light bulbs and 340 electrical outlets. KUTV-Channel 2 will air a live 30-minute broadcast at the plaza beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Santa will travel from the Gallivan Center up Main Street, arriving at 6:30 p.m. outside Meier and Frank, where there will be caroling, entertainment, and free hot cider and gingerbread cookies courtesy of Meier and Frank, beginning at 6 p.m.

Lights along Main Street will come on after 6:30 p.m., as will the 700,000 or so lights on Temple Square. Lights at the Conference Center and LDS Church's headquarters will be switched on at dusk.

The weather forecast for tonight's lights-on events is appropriately wintry, although it's predicted that valley snow will stop falling by the afternoon.

The third annual "Light Up the Night Concert," featuring Kurt Bestor, will begin at 7 p.m. at the Olympic Legacy Plaza at The Gateway. The public is invited to sing along to holiday carols, enjoy complimentary hot chocolate, and listen to the University of Utah Singers and the 95th Infantry Auxiliary Band.

This morning's West Valley City Santa parade begins at 9 a.m. at the intersection of 3450 West and 3500 South and ends at the Valley Fair Mall. Along the route, volunteers will pass out 4,000 gift bags full of candy and coupons. The program will include parade commentary in both English and Spanish, in honor of the west side's growing Latino population.

Provo's WinterFest begins with a Santa parade on University Avenue, beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday. The parade includes singing and equestrian groups and the Utah Jazz dancers. Santa and his elves will hand out treats along the parade route, from 1060 North to 100 South.

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After Provo's Lights On ceremony Monday evening, WinterFest organizers will unveil eight candy-decorated windows in shops on Center Street in Provo's historic downtown district. Decorators have been working on the candy windows since last January, according to Kathryn Allen, executive director of the Provo Arts Council.

WinterFest 2004 continues in December with concerts and a "Messiah" sing-in Saturday, Dec. 4.


The holiday glow begins

Salt Lake City: 6:30 p.m. tonight

Temple Square: 6:30 p.m. tonight

Kaysville: 5:30 p.m. Saturday

Ogden: 5 p.m. Saturday

Provo: 6 p.m. Monday

Park City: 7 p.m. Tuesday