Thousands gather in downtown to spread holiday cheer & light up Public Square


Christmas tree lighting at Winterfest 2019 (Alex Stokes/WJW Photo)

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CLEVELAND (WJW) — Thousands of people came together in Public Square Saturday to watch the lighting of the city's Christmas tree and take part in holiday festivities.

"I like that it's like bright and that it shines," said Lily Scaccia of the 50-foot tree.

The lighting took place during the annual Winterfest event, a Cleveland tradition running 37 years strong, hosted by the Downtown Cleveland Alliance.

"Coming here with my family, it's been kind of a tradition every year. So, like I definitely look forward to this after Thanksgiving," said Nicole Sparks.

Thousands of first-timers and veteran visitors shared some holiday cheer.

"Now that I'm a Clevelander I have to go and see it and it's beautiful," said Leena Dawi.

"We've been coming since I was a kid," said Melinda Scaccia.

A fireworks display illuminated the night sky following the tree lighting.

"I liked the fireworks. The fireworks were something else," said Ruth Werdebaugh.

Ellie Scaccia agreed, "I love them. The explosions of color are really nice."

The fireworks and massive tree decked in 130,000 lights, according to the DCA, wasn't the only attraction.

"It's a great way to not only animate the square -- but to bring business to some of the adjoining properties in downtown," said Joe Marinucci of the DCA.

People were able to enjoy free carriage rides,  test their balance on the ice rink and enjoy performances throughout the day. The Higbee's windows were dressed to impress and even Santa made an appearance!

"Completely transformed it. Like it looks amazing. I feel like it got all of us in the Christmas spirit," said Karisma Seay.

A spirit some, like Curtis Henry, say is special to Cleveland.

"I think it's a huge beacon in all honesty, you know I think it adds a lot of hope to the city you know. I think it shows once again, it's all about love here," explained Henry.

If you missed Saturday's festivities, the twinkling lights and ice rink will be open for the rest of the holiday season, until February 29, for all to enjoy.

Click here for more information or to purchase ice skating tickets.

More on Winterfest, here.

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