Lights On! at the Gallivan Center


Keith Johnson

Lights On at the Gallivan Events Center. Photo Credit to the Gallivan Center

By Lynette Randall

Complete with festive lights, a live DJ, an enthusiastic atmosphere and an impressive ice skating performance, the Gallivan Center kicked off their holiday season with their annual “Lights On!” event downtown on Wednesday, Nov. 29.

The event was led and hosted by Salt Lake City and Mayor Biskupski and commemorated the beginning of the holiday season and community togetherness and ran from 4-7 p.m. Occurring at the beginning of each holiday season, “Lights On!” caters to a wide audience with entertainment, food and holiday cheer.

“The Gallivan Center is one of Salt Lake City’s gems in the heart of downtown,” said Tara Olson, the Marketing and Advertising Events Manager for the Gallivan Center. The Gallivan Center is host to numerous events throughout the year.

“It is cool to have a community center that is right downtown,” said Ryan Hadfield, a junior at the University of Utah. “The Gallivan Center is more intimate and is great to experience with a group of friends, plus their hot chocolate is really good.

“It’s important to support anything that supports a sense of community,” said junior Clara Warrick.

“Lights On!” continues a 15-long year tradition of turning on the holiday lights, accompanied by entertainment and food. “I think it’s charming and brings you back to the American holiday traditions of Christmas time,” said Michelle Graham, an event attendee.

The highlight of the night was the lighting of a 60-foot tree with over 350,000 lights. It is worth noting that all 350,000+ lights are powered this year with renewable energy supported by customers from Rocky Mountain Power’s Blue Sky Renewable Energy Program. Following the lighting of the tree, the American Ice Theatre of Utah’s Crimson Ice Skaters performed an artistic sequence on the ice. Set to music from the popular film “La La Land,” the skaters were an in-sync progression of dazzles and impressive skating.

“I’ve never seen skating this close before,” said Graham. “There is so much coordination.”

“I love skating in this kind of atmosphere, especially during the holidays,” said American Ice Theatre skater and sophomore at the U, Stephanie McGuire. “Being in downtown and ice skating with the city and lights all around you is really great. It’s a unique place in our city and it’s right in our backyard.”

The skaters even stayed on the ice following their performance to offer tips on basic skating.

Loud and energetic holiday music was provided by Jon Smith, Mobile DJ featuring a good chunk of holiday classics. Additional highlights of the night included “Fry Me to the Moon,” a donut food truck which generously provided one free donut per person all night, Santa Claus, face painting, Christmas carolers and special appearances by various Disney characters. The event also hosted a warm winter clothing drive to benefit the Road Home Homeless Shelter.

The Gallivan Center is located on 239 Main Street and is conveniently across from a TRAX station. “The Gallivan Center provides a unique setting for students to play outside, experience a diverse variety of arts and cultural events, and best of all it’s affordable,” said Olson.

Opening 24 years ago, the Gallivan Center has long been a source of affordable and sustainable community events. “The ice rink revenue goes into funding for later events at the center and we try and provide entertainment that accommodates everyone,” said Olson.

“We are always expanding partnerships and event opportunities so if there is anything students would like to see on our plaza, please let us know,” said Olson.

Some of the sponsors of the night included CenturyLinkRocky Mountain Power, Rocky Mountain Power’s Blue Sky ProgramKUTV 2NewsYelp Salt Lake City and SLC gov.

The Gallivan Center is open Monday-Thursday: 4pm-9pm, Friday-Saturday: 12pm-12am and Sunday 12pm-7pm. Ice Skating rentals and admissions are $9 for adults, however groups of 25+ will receive $1 off per skater.

For more information on upcoming events at the Gallivan Center as well as information on ice skating, rentals and admissions, visit