A few changes in the schedule of events promises to make the 2012 Syracuse Tannenbaum festivities better than ever.

A few changes in the schedule of events promises to make the 2012 Syracuse Tannenbaum festivities better than ever.

This year, the tree lighting will be earlier, at 5 p.m., leaving no gap between it and the end of the children's activities.

The day begins as shops open their doors at 9 a.m. Chamber hospitality tables will be set up at several locations. Customers will find special deals and can pick up a Syracuse business punch card. After they get five punches, they can turn in the cards for a drawing of $50 in Chamber Bucks.

Also at 9, non-profit and non-commercial organizations will be setting up a bakers' market at the 5th Street Centre. There will also be a Chamber table where tour of home tickets, T-shirts and coupons will be available.
People are also encouraged to vote for their favorite Christmas tree from businesses in town. The winners will be announced during the tree lighting ceremony.

Voting is also going on for the annual Grinch and Grinchette nominees. Votes come in the form of money stuffed in jars at Mane Street, B&J's, Wally's, as well as Triple D's, where the winners will be announced at 9 p.m. All proceeds go toward local charities.

At 10:30 a.m., the Good Samaritan Society is holding a basket auction at the library. Area groups, organizations and businesses donate the baskets full of goodies to help raise money for improvements at Good Samaritan Society facilities. All week leading up to the event, Hometown Variety has the baskets on display.

From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Friends of the Library will serve a soup luncheon, with the free-will offering going toward children's programs.

The annual Tour of Homes is from 1-4 p.m. Tickets can be purchased for $8 at The Studio, AJ's, Added Touch, the Chamber booth or at each one of the homes.
This year's tour will be at the Hespen's, 644 6th St.; Gayle Miller's, 314 Country Ridge Dr.; the Shank's, 1425 Walnut; and the 5th Street Centre Apartment above 5th Street Centre downtown.

Another feature this year will be a living history presentation by Maria Rodaway, prairie pioneer. The part of Maria is played by Karen Wyatt Drevo, formerly from Unadilla, who portrays her great-great-grandmother who homesteaded in Otoe County in 1867.

Kids Time is from 3-5 p.m. at the Green Room in 5th Street Center, with free crafts, a cake walk and a visit from Santa from 3:30 to 4:45 p.m.

Then everyone should move down to the giant Christmas tree downtown, for caroling and the lighting.