Crowds returned to New York City’s Midtown Manhattan on Wednesday (December 1) for the 89th annual lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, officially kicking off the holiday season in usual fashion.
This year’s event was open to the general public in contrast to last year’s gathering that saw strict COVID-19 restrictions as virus infection cases soared.
The two-hour ceremony was broadcast live on NBC with a slew of star-studded performances, some virtual, including Carrie Underwood, whose pre-recorded performance of her song “Let There Be Peace” was broadcast from Nashville, Brad Paisley covering Buck Owens’ 1965 country classic “Santa Looked a Lot Like Daddy”, José Feliciano teaming up with Latin American boy band CNCO for a memorable performance of his timeless song “Feliz Navidad”, among others.
The night’s highlight came when more than 50,000 multi-colored LED lights and a 900-pound star with at least 70 spikes covered in 3 million crystals were switched on, bringing the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree to life.
New York’s outgoing Mayor, Bill DeBlasio and Tishman Speyer CEO, Rob Speyer, whose company owns the Rockefeller Center, were on hand to light the 12-ton, 79-foot (24-metre) tall Norway Spruce that was donated by the Price family from Elkton, Maryland.
This year’s tree will be on display through early January 2022.