PORTLAND — The holiday season begins in Portland on Friday, Nov. 23, with the lighting of the city Christmas tree at 5 p.m. in Monument Square.

Sponsored by Portland Downtown, the tree lighting starts the annual Light Up Your Holidays celebration that extends through December with a variety of events.

This year’s 40-foot blue spruce comes from South Portland’s Cash Corner Fire Station. The tree was cut and moved across the Fore River Nov. 15. The annual tree lighting is hosted by Portland Downtown and will feature live music, light refreshments, and free horse and wagon rides.

On Saturday, Nov. 24, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Maine will be the beneficiaries of the annual Shop for a Cause Day, when nearly 50 businesses in the Old Port and beyond will donate a portion of their sales to the clubs. A list of participating businesses can be found at https://bit.ly/2yYAFi6.

The annual Merry Madness party will be held at the U.S. Custom House, 312 Fore St., beginning at 4 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 6. Tickets are $20 and must be ordered online at https://bit.ly/2SXhca7. More than 75 stores will stay open until 10 p.m. following the party.

Shopping will also be enlivened on Nov. 28 and Dec. 5 and 12 with Elfternoon Lunchtime Shopping, where participating businesses will also offer refreshments from noon-2 p.m. On Nov. 28, there will be free gift wrapping from 1-3 p.m. at the Androscoggin Bank branch at 130 Middle St.

This year, Portland Downtown is also sponsoring a window display contest. Winners will be announced Dec. 15 in five categories, including People’s Choice.

On Fridays through Sundays from Nov. 23 through Dec. 16, there will be horse-drawn wagon rides through the Old Port, beginning and ending at Monument Square. Friday hours are 4-8 p.m., Saturday hours are 2-6 p.m., and Sundays from 1-5 p.m.

Wagon rides will also be offered during Merry Madness.

For more Light Up Your Holidays information, visit www.portlandmaine.com.

The Nov. 23 tree lighting will also require the closing of Congress Street to traffic between Preble and Elm streets from noon-9 p.m. Federal Street Extension will be closed from 4:30-7 p.m. Parking will not be available from 2-7 p.m.

David Harry can be reached at 780-9092 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidHarry8.

Crews from the Forestry Section of Portland’s Parks, Recreation & Facilities Department set this year’s Christmas tree in a deep drain in Monument Square on Thursday, Nov. 15. South Portland donated the 40-foot blue spruce, which stood at the city’s Cash Corner fire station. Keeley Crane Services and Shaw Brothers Construction donated staff, the crane, and transportation services.The tree will be lit with more than 5,000 LED lights on Friday, Nov. 23, as part of Portland’s annual tree lighting; festivities begin at 5 p.m. (Roger S. Duncan / For The Forecaster)

Luke Lermond, a member of the Forestry Section of Portland’s Parks, Recreation & Facilities Department, cuts this year’s Christmas tree at the South Portland Fire Department’s Cash Corner station on Nov. 15. (Roger S. Duncan / For The Forecaster)

Lermond and co-workers from the Forestry Section of Portland’s Parks, Recreation & Facilities Department tie down this year’s Christmas tree on a flatbed truck after cutting it from the lawn near the South Portland Fire Department at Cash Corner. (Roger S. Duncan / For The Forecaster)

The blue spruce donated by South Portland is loaded on a flatbed truck before being delivered Nov. 15 to Monument Square in Portland. (Roger S. Duncan / For The Forecaster)