Rockefeller Center tree set aglow for the holidays

Published 4:31 pm Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree was set aglow with 30,000 colored lights Wednesday night, officially kicking off the holiday season in the city.

With temperatures in the high 50s, thousands of people packed the midtown Manhattan plaza for the festivities, which were hosted by the “Today” show’s Al Roker and Ann Curry.

Singers Martina McBride, John Legend, Christina Aguilera, Sting and Bette Midler were among those who performed during the two-hour event, part of which was televised nationally on NBC.

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Also on hand were Mayor Michael Bloomberg, singer Lionel Richie and NBC’s “30 Rock” stars Alec Baldwin and Tina Fey. Co-star Tracy Morgan, arrested earlier this week on drunken driving charges, was supposed to appear with his castmates but didn’t show up.

Christmas tree admirers came from as far away as Florida, California, Germany and Norway.

“It’s just such an experience being here with everyone,” said Sarah Shott, who traveled with her mother from Tresckow, Pa. by bus to watch the ceremony for the first time.

The 9-ton tree, which came from the Ridgefield, Conn. property of Rob Kinnaird, is topped with a Swarovski crystal star. The tree will remain in place until Jan. 8.