Iconic Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center to be illuminated


NEW YORK (AP) — The iconic Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center will be lit Wednesday night by more than 50,000 multicolored lights as crowds gather in New York City for the holiday tradition.

The massive tree — a 12 ton, 80-foot-tall Norway spruce from upstate New York — will be illuminated by about five miles (8 kilometers) of LED string lights and topped with a 900-pound star covered in 3 million gleaming crystals.

An opening night ceremony in Manhattan will feature appearances by Cher, Barry Manilow and Kelly Clarkson, among others. The Radio City Rockettes will also perform.

Starting in the 1930s, the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree tradition has drawn thousands of visitors to the city each year during the holiday season.

Following its initial lighting on Wednesday, the tree will remain lit from 5 a.m. to midnight every day until Jan. 13. On Christmas day, it’ll be lit 24 hours.

Police have warned of the potential for protesters to interrupt the event, as recent gatherings in New York have drawn activists seeking to bring attention to the Israel-Hamas war.

Videos posted to social media showed a large crowd of pro-Palestinian protesters a few blocks away from the tree ceremony at the News Corp. building, which houses Fox News, The Wall Street Journal and the New York Post. Footage from the scene showed a few protesters clashing with police outside the media company’s building.

Last week, a group of protesters carrying a banner that read “Free Palestine” briefly interrupted the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, blocking the front of parade floats on the street. They were eventually taken into custody and the parade continued.

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