Atlanta Journal Constitution
"Stars, lights, oohs, aahs - Atlanta tradition kicks off holiday season"
November 22, 2009
For generations of Atlantans, Thanksgiving dinner has led up to another holiday tradition - a trip to watch the Macy's Great Tree Lighting. Now in its 62nd year, the event kicks the holidays off in high style, with top-name performers, a spectacular fireworks extravaganza and fun for the whole family.
As in years past, up to 100,000 people are expected to come to Lenox Square to enjoy the festivities in person, with another 500,000 people watching the live broadcast on WSB-TV, co-hosted by news anchor Monica Pearson and meteorologist David Chandley.
Macy's has booked an all-star entertainment lineup for the event, including country music heartthrob Josh Turner, former "American Idol" finalist Mandisa, hip-hop dance group SoReal Cru, and local singer Norwood, a rising star from Gwinnett County.
After the performances, all eyes will turn to the real star of the show - the Macy's Great Tree. This year's tree comes from Dallas, Ga., where the Williams family planted and grew it in their front yard.
Topped with a star and decorated with thousands of lights, the white pine tree is more than 60 feet tall.
One of the most touching traditions of the event is the appearance of an honorary tree-lighter, selected from patients at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.
This year's tree-lighter is Kanya Reeves, 4, who received a new heart at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta when she was 18 months old. Kanya will help flip the switch to light the Great Tree as the performers onstage sing "O Holy Night".
Once the tree is lit, the night sky will be illuminated by a fireworks spectacular to close out the evening.
Beat the crowds and get to Lenox Square early to snag the best viewing spots for the big event. To help keep you warm, Land O'Lakes will provide coffee samples.