Thousands attend Rockefeller Christmas tree lighting

People watch as the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree is lit during a ceremony on Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015, in New York. The Norway Spruce tree stands at about 78 feet tall and is lit with over 40,000 multi-colored LED lights. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
People watch as the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree is lit during a ceremony on Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015, in New York. The Norway Spruce tree stands at about 78 feet tall and is lit with over 40,000 multi-colored LED lights. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

NEW YORK (AP) – Thousands of rain-drenched revelers gathered in midtown Manhattan to watch the annual lighting of the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio flipped the switch Wednesday night, illuminating the 94-foot tall, 14-ton Norway spruce with 50,000 multicolored lights.

The 84th annual ceremony was televised by NBC and included performances by Neil Diamond, Sarah McLachlan, Tori Kelly and the Radio City Rockettes.

The holiday tradition started in 1931. This year’s tree came from the northern foothills of New York’s Catskill mountain range. After the holidays, it will be milled into lumber for Habitat for Humanity.

Security at the event was tight. Spectators were urged to use mass transit and umbrellas, backpacks and large bags were prohibited.

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