Fun, good cheer at annual holiday tree lighting

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It was a spectacular night for the City of Philadelphia to unofficially kick off to the holiday season. (WPVI)

It was a spectacular night for the City of Philadelphia to unofficially kick off to the holiday season.

The chill in the air Thursday made things a little more festive.

The enormous tree at City Hall was as brilliant as the decorations lining Christmas Village, and crowds, anxious to be a part of the annual tradition, exuded the spirit of the city.

There was music, merriment and a bit of sport, too. The Rothman Ice Rink, open for the second year, has become Philadelphia's answer to New York City's Rockefeller Center.

The message was one of joy, peace and the excitement of a month-long celebration ahead.

"I just wish everyone the best of holidays, a safe and healthy tail end of this year and a Happy New Year," said Mayor Michael Nutter. "And, you know, let's keep making Philly the great city that it is."
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