Fort Riley Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony Set For December 5


Fort Riley’s annual holiday tree lighting ceremony takes place Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at Ware Parade Field, 500 Huebner Road.

Highlights of the event include holiday caroling, entertainment by the 1st Infantry Division Band, refreshments and a visit from Santa Claus. Maj. Gen. John S. Kolasheski, 1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley commanding general, is scheduled to speak before the flip is switched to light the tree, which stands in front of the Fort Riley garrison headquarters. Children will have the opportunity to visit with Santa Claus indoors following the tree lighting. Refreshments will be provided by USO Kansas, Fort Riley Center.

Operation Santa Claus will also be accepting donations of new, unwrapped toys in the $10 – $20 price range for children of Soldiers, E-5 and below. Monetary donations will also be accepted.

The event is open to the public. Visitors who do not have a Department of Defense ID card can get a pass at the Visitor Control Center near the Henry Gate, Exit 301 off of I-70. Under the Trusted Traveler Pilot Program, DOD ID cardholders may escort up to seven guests in a vehicle who do not have a DOD ID card or visitor pass. Only the Trusted Traveler will need to show a photo ID. For details about access procedures, call (785) 239-2982 or visit

Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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