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The city will offer free rides on its two new downtown trolleys as part of Friday's Winter Lights celebration.

The event begins at 6 p.m., when Mayor Chris Beutler and his wife Judy, Luminary Award winners Jim McKee and Linda Hillegass, and Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive at Tower Square, 13th and P streets.

The Winter Lights event will include music by the Northeast High School Chamber Singers and the La Iglesia De La Comunidad Church band, as well as holiday treats.

The Luminary Award honors those who have “displayed consistent and intentional actions that demonstrate Lincoln’s values and gone above and beyond in making an impact on Lincoln and its citizens.” McKee and Hillegass are longtime owners of Lee Booksellers. As a well-known local historian, McKee writes a weekly column for the Lincoln Journal Star and gives many community presentations. Hillegass gives her time to many nonprofits, including the Lincoln Literacy Council, the Food Bank of Lincoln and Lincoln City Libraries.

After presentation of the Luminary Award at 6:30 p.m., free trolley rides will be offered until 8:30 p.m. for those interested in viewing the Downtown Lincoln Association holiday light displays.

The new trolleys feature vintage-style oak benches, brass molding, leather handgrips and a bell, with all the handicap-accessible amenities and security features of a modern bus. The trolleys are fueled by compressed natural gas.

Two trolleys are scheduled to begin service in the downtown area in mid-December. Rides will be free through February and just 25 cents after that.

Service will be offered weekdays between 6:15 a.m. and 8:30 p.m., with trolleys running every 15 minutes, with special lunch-time service offered every seven minutes between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

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City editor

City editor for the Lincoln Journal Star.

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