Updated 11/23/2012 11:01 PM
Clinton Square tree is lit
The decorations have been going up for days now in Clinton Square, but Friday marked the main event: The lighting of the tree. It's a decades old tradition in Syracuse. As our Iris St. Meran tells us, the event helps revelers feel cheerful.
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SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- The Friday after Thanksgiving is about more than holiday sales. Spectators arrived in Clinton Square early for the evening's festivities.
"We're definitely excited for Santa. We got perfect seats for the tree lighting," said Melissa Mendez.
Seating is important because up to 10,000 people were expected to turn out for the Holiday Tree Lighting Celebration. That flip of the switch has become a tradition for many families and friends.
This event has deep roots in the city. It started in 1913, moved to Clinton Square in 1933 and the weather hasn't even prevented the lights from illuminating. This year provided ideal conditions.
Mendez said, "It's really nice out this year. It's warm and it's been really good weather."
The people who come to this event say it's a nice activity to do with the family, but they also say it's a great way to get them into the holiday spirit.
"This is like one of the best ways I can think of to get in the holiday spirit because there are so many people, so many things to do and it's really fun," said Nicole Kent.
Alisha Kent said, "I've watched it on TV before. I've always wanted to actually come out here and see it for myself."
And a sight it was. Standing 45 feet tall, the tree was a bright spot for the area and the beginning of a lot of holiday memories.