Hanging Around … 79th Annual Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting Ceremony

The 74-foot tall Norwood Spruce currently residing in Rockefeller Center is a behemoth that even Clark Griswold would be impressed by.

With over 45,000 multi-colored LED lights and a nine-and-a-half feet, 550 pound crystal star perched on top of it, Rockefeller Center’s tree is a sight to behold. The lights were turned on for the first time last night by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, capping off a two-hour long nationally-televised ceremony. And we were on hand live to witness it.

It was a cold night in New York and the streets were absolutely packed with people hoping to catch a glimpse of the tree and the ceremony’s performers, which included Tony Bennett, Cee Lo Green, Carole King, Katharine McPhee, Javier Colon and Justin Bieber. Sadly, many of the performances, including Bieber’s, were pre-taped and simply shown on giant screens, but that didn’t stop the kids in attendance from screaming at the top of their lungs at the mere mention of The Bieb’s name.

The event was hosted by Al Roker and Savannah Guthrie, who were positioned near the media pen we were sequestered in. Our view of the main stage was unfortunately quite obscured, but getting to witness Brian Williams’ handsomeness firsthand as he joined Guthrie on stage for a segment easily made up for it.

Overall, it was a fun event with a lively (though slightly chaotic) atmosphere. The marketing staff at department stores keep trying to get the Christmas season started earlier and earlier each year, but that fact remains that it never truly feels like Christmas until they flip the switch on the Rockefeller Center tree.

Photos and article by Joel Murphy.

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