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New York City kicks off the holiday season with the 86th Rockefeller Center tree lighting ceremony

Rockefeller Plaza christmas tree lighting

New York City will kick off the holiday season on Wednesday, Nov. 28, when the 86th Rockefeller Center tree lighting ceremony takes place.

The iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas tree is a worldwide symbol of the holidays in New York City.

More than 50,000 lights, about 5 miles worth of LED lights, will glow on this year's tree, which was grown in Wallkill, New York. The Norway spruce is 72 feet tall and weighs about 12 tons. 

The tree lighting will take place at Rockefeller Plaza, between 49th and 50th streets and Fifth and Sixth avenues, on Wednesday, beginning at 7 p.m. EST, and will be televised nationally on NBC from 8 p.m. EST to 10 p.m. EST.

Spectators planning to attend will not have to worry about any significant weather disruptions.

Temperatures will be near 40 F on Wednesday evening. Skies will be mainly clear with a gusty wind out of the northwest.

"The spirit of the holidays coming up with no weather hazards, other than that it will be rather windy," said AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Elliot Abrams.

Spectators should dress warmly for the event.

The tree will remain lit every day from 5:30 a.m. EST to 11:30 p.m. EST through Jan. 6, 2019, and 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. EST on Jan. 7, 2019.

On Christmas Day, the tree's 50,000 lights shine for a full 24 hours.

Thousands of people will make the trip for the star-studded bash on Wednesday night. Diana Ross, Tony Bennett, Diana Krall, Brett Eldridge, John Legend, Pentatonix and others will make an appearance at the ceremony.

The tree will stay up throughout the holiday season for the more than 750,000 people that will walk by it every day. When the tree comes down, its lumber will be donated to Habitat for Humanity.

Photo Credit: Rockefeller center

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