In celebration of the holidays, there are many local events to celebrate holiday spirit. The annual tree lighting is held by the community in honor of the late George Didden. Kathy Didden, the late George’s wife, has been lighting the tree each year since it was planted. Since that time, the community’s participation in the tree lighting has grown each year.
Pier 39’s annual tree lighting
Each year, Pier 39 lights its 60-foot holiday tree, and the festivities include live music, carolers, and a place to write letters to Santa. Visitors can also participate in an early holiday shopping spree or play a game on the video arcade. For the entire family, the Tree Lighting Celebration is a must-do holiday event!
The evening’s festivities also include a holiday boat parade with 60 boats decked out in holiday decorations. This spectacular event is held on the water near Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf and is free to attend. Visitors can also visit Ghirardelli Square, where a beautiful holiday display is set in front of the historic Ghirardelli sign. The holiday celebration typically begins in late November, and the Ghirardelli chocolate store is often one of the best-dressed shops in the city.
Fairfield University’s Wind-er Wonderland and Tree Lighting
Fairfield University hosts an annual tree lighting ceremony in December. It is free and open to the public. It features a visit from Santa Claus and performances by local choirs. Fairfield also has a mascot named Lucas the Stag. During the ceremony, Santa and Mrs. Claus will be on hand to pose for pictures.
The festivities also feature the Flash Pointe Dance Company performing a special performance of The Nutcracker. The children are treated to a 40-minute performance of this beloved holiday classic. After the performance, the audience is invited to meet Santa and enjoy cookies.
Faneuil Marketplace’s official tree lighting
The Faneuil Marketplace’s official holiday tree lighting ceremony airs live on WBZ-TV Channel 4 on Sunday, December 8. The program is hosted by Lisa Hughes and David Wade. The performance will include holiday favorites such as “Underneath the Tree,” “Hallelujah,” “The Nutcracker,” and “Ring Christmas Bells.” There will also be a musical performance by the Scullers Jazz Club.
The Faneuil Hall Marketplace has hosted its annual holiday light show since 2012. The ceremony featured celebrity guests and a live broadcast of WBZ Holiday Spectacular. The lighting ceremony also featured hundreds of thousands of LED lights, which changed color as Christmas music played. While putting on such a spectacular show costs money, it is well worth it to experience the magic of the season.
Central Park’s Tavern on the Green
In time for the holidays, head to Central Park’s Tavern on the Green for the annual tree lighting celebration. Restored to its historic glory, this Central Park institution offers elegant seating and American fare. There’s also outdoor garden seating. Open seven days a week, it features festive décor and holiday tree lighting.
This year, the Tavern on the Green will be hosting its 5th annual holiday tree lighting ceremony. This event is free to attend and will feature a 20-foot Christmas tree decked with over 2,000 ornaments and 10,000 lights. The tree lighting will be accompanied by holiday music and performances by the Manhattan Holiday Carolers. The event will also feature complimentary hot cider and cookies.
In addition to the tree lighting, Tavern on the Green will host a festive dinner prepared by the West Side Campaign Against Hunger (WSCAH), a nonprofit organization that works to alleviate the hunger problem in New York City. A portion of the proceeds from the dinner will be donated to WSCAH. This event will also feature a performance by a local jazz guitarist, the Bill Wurtzel Trio. This concert will also feature a raffle for donated items.
Rockefeller Center’s annual tree lighting
The annual holiday tree lighting ceremony is free and open to the public, but if you can’t make it, you can still tune in live on NBC from 7 p.m. ET on Wednesday. The ceremony will feature special performances by the Radio City Rockettes and a duet between Rob Thomas and Brad Paisley.
The Tree Lighting Ceremony takes place in December at the Rockefeller Center. The ceremony begins at 7pm and runs until 10pm. Seating is limited, so be sure to arrive early. Once the tree is lit, it will remain for several weeks. The City of New York has made changes to the area to make the event more comfortable for visitors. For example, the Fifth Avenue portion of the plaza has been closed to vehicles to allow pedestrians access to the plaza. Also, pedestrians will be allowed on 49th and 50th streets between Fifth and Sixth avenues, and a combined three lanes of traffic will be dedicated to pedestrians between 58th and 52nd streets.
The lighting ceremony takes place the Wednesday following Thanksgiving, although preparations begin earlier in November. Scaffolding is erected around the tree to make the job easier. Workers will attach more than 50,000 LED lights and a crystal star to the top of the tree. This year’s tree is 85 years old and adorned with over five miles of wire. Solar panels will provide electricity to the lights throughout the holiday season.