BALTIMORE -- Baltimore City is ready to celebrate the holidays.
The Mayor's Christmas Tree, a 25-foot Norway Spruce, donated by Pinehurst Landscape Company, was lit up at War Memorial Plaza, outside of Baltimore's City Hall on Wednesday evening.
"As you can see, we are in the holiday spirit," said Ciara Wake, from the Mayor's Office. "It means we are giving everyone in Baltimore the opportunity to come out and celebrate the holidays together, in a safe place, where everyone is welcome."
Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott counted down before the tree was lit up.
"This is a great way to kick off the holiday season," Scott said. "There were a bunch of children out here enjoying themselves, taking their pictures with Santa Claus. This is a great way to show and put people in the holiday spirit."
The festive celebration honored Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa.
"This is holiday on holiday. It couldn't be any better," said Patti Smith, Director of Outreach and Strategic Partnership with SANKOFA. "This is the spirit of Baltimore and all of us living together."
The annual tradition was full of festivities, including food, face painting, performances from Baltimore City Schools students, and more.
"We are going to play music, a little holiday medley – Feliz Navidad, Joy to the World – and we are going to play some go-go music," said Adam Brown, band director at Frederick Douglass High School. "They love to come out here and perform with pride and really show off what they've been working on."
Those in attendance say this is the start of the holidays in Baltimore.
"This Christmas time," one visitor said. "It just means it's Christmas season and I like this time of the year."
"I like people singing," another said. "This is like my favorite holiday."
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