Hank Plante

Special Appearance by Santa Adds to Festivities

Peabody and Emmy Award-winning journalist, Hank Plante, will serve as the 2019 celebrity tree lighter for the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway’s Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony. Festivities begin at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, December 1 at the Tram’s Mountain Station kicking-off with a holiday performance by the Palm Springs High School Madrigals & String Quartet along with a special appearance by Santa. Then Plante will  light the Tram’s landmark 45-foot tree comprised of over 4,000 LED lights, which can seen throughout the Coachella Valley.

Plante is the recipient of six Emmys and has covered California for three decades on TV stations in San Francisco and Los Angeles. He is the winner of the George Foster Peabody Award and was named “Reporter of the Year” by the Associated Press. He is now a resident of Palm Springs and serves on the Desert Sun Editorial Board, as well as providing commentary for NBC Palm Springs.

As one of the first openly-gay TV reporters in the United States, Plante has been honored by numerous LGBT rights organizations. In addition, he was featured in the documentary “5B” which was selected for the 2019 Cannes Film Festival and chronicles the first AIDS ward opened in the nation, which he covered as a reporter.

“For me the holidays are a time when we rise above our differences (which can be glaring if you work in the news business like I do), and we’re lifted up to who we really are: brothers and sisters getting through life together,” according to Plante. “Driving around the Valley, looking up at the holiday lights coming from the top of the Tram, I’m instantly reminded of that all through the Season. “