Downtown Raleigh Tree Lighting Ceremony to feature artificial Christmas tree

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- No, no Christmas isn't canceled! But, the hand-selected tree that graces City Plaza in Downtown Raleigh during the holiday season will be.

A representative from the Downtown Raleigh Alliance, which hosts the Tree Lighting Ceremony, has confirmed to ABC11 that this year's tree will be artificial.

"It's going to be the first time we offer a beautifully sculpted tree - so it'll be 30 feet in total height and it's going to enable us to control for a number of the unpredictability's we encountered in years past," said Kristopher Larson, CEO of the Downtown Raleigh Alliance.

He said it's a good cost efficiency for the organization.

"We'll amortize the cost over 3 years and then we'll enjoy the tree for as many as 10," he said.

Downtown holiday decorations will also feature a 9-foot tall Menorah. Additionally, they are working on incorporating Kwanzaa into the celebration.

In 2017, the City Plaza was home to a 35-foot Norway Spruce from Sugar Mountain Nursery in Avery County. Mayor Nancy McFarlane lit the tree, which was decked out with thousands of lights during the lighting ceremony.

This year, the Downtown Raleigh Tree Lighting Ceremony will take place at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts located at 2 E South Street on Friday, Nov. 30 from 6-7 p.m., which is different from years past.

Organizers said attendees should arrive early and will have the opportunity to enjoy food and drinks from local vendors, be entertained by holiday carolers, and of course, meet Santa Claus.

ABC11 is the official broadcast partner of the tree lighting.

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