As the city of Santa Fe kicks off the holiday season Friday evening with its annual celebration of lights on the Plaza, the Santa Fe New Mexican will join Mayor Alan Webber in introducing the honorees of the newspaper’s 10 Who Made a Difference awards for 2021.

The event, scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m. Friday, will include a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus, refreshments and music performed by the Santo Niño Choir, Bells of St. Francis, Santa Fe Brass, Sol Fire and Legacy of Santa Fe.

Santa and Mrs. Claus will arrive at 5 p.m. in a vintage firetruck, and a mailbox will be available for people to send letters to Santa.

Hot chocolate and cookies will be provided by Girl Scout Troop 10045, and food trucks will offer a range of fare.

Webber will illuminate the Plaza around 6:15 p.m.

This year’s Plaza lighting celebration is the first in the history of the 10 Who Made a Difference program — a holiday tradition at The New Mexican since 1985 — in which the community will have an opportunity to meet the honorees.

The New Mexican will announce the winners Thursday, when it launches a 10-day series of stories featuring the volunteers.

Work crews have been stringing thousands of holiday light on the Plaza since Nov. 1.

“This is an amazing tradition that helps to make Santa Fe so enchanting during the holidays,” City Clerk Kristine Bustos-Mihelcic said in a statement on the celebration.

“Santa Feans of all ages love seeing the Plaza lit up,” she added. “Huge thanks to our Parks crew for hanging thousands of twinkling light so expertly.”

Masks will be required and social distancing will be in effect for all who attend the lighting.

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