PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Philly loves a celebration and today officially marked the countdown to the 2018 Holiday Festival.
The free, five-week celebration, encompasses all things holiday throughout the city.
Mayor Jim Kenney says it's a great time for residents and visitors to shop and explore but also a time to embrace the holiday spirit.
"We've had a couple of difficult years nationally and I think we need to get together and remember what the holiday is all about it's about love and family and each other," said Philadelphia Mayor Kenney.
The festival will include more than 20 signature events. Crews are busy setting up Christmas Village where you can shop for holiday favorites, treats, and other items.
The Rothman Ice Rink, at Dilworth Park is always a favorite hangout spot during the holidays.
And we can't forget the holiday tree.
Workers have already placed the new 65-foot tree, representing 22 neighborhoods in the city in its new home at the front door of City Hall, and will start decorating it soon.
6abc is the proud official sponsor of the Philly Holiday Tree at City Hall. 6abc President and General Manager, Bernie Prazenica explained why the station supports the Holiday Festival.
"It's that Thanksgiving Day Parade that starts it for us but this is just extension, an opportunity to be part of something really exciting around City Hall. It is the official tree, everybody gets to enjoy it. We want to be part of it. We want to support it. We want to extend that to the community," he said.
Others sponsors say there is no place like Philadelphia for the holidays.
They want you to enjoy the holiday festival and spread a little cheer while you do it.
Jeff Guaracino, CEO, Visit Philadelphia said, "Our theme this year is all about love. It's all about love Philadelphia, love your neighbors, love your family, come and make some memories."
GM of NRG Retail Mike Starck said, "We have a lot of things that kind of pull us apart for about 11 months out of the year. You get to Thanksgiving and everyone really comes together especially here in Philadelphia. People really seem to love it, the tree lighting all of the different things the city puts on, they are a really fantastic and it really brings the community together."
It may not look like much now, but soon this Holiday Tree will be glistening with thousands of lights and arguably, be one of the best holiday trees in the country and this reminder, the holiday festivities kickoff with the 6abc Thanksgiving Day Parade that happens Thursday, November 22nd.
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Preps underway for Philly Holiday Festival
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