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Bright Lights, Big Stars for Tree Lighting

December 10, 2002, 12:00 AM EST

At Rockefeller Center's annual tree lighting, Today co-hosts Al Roker and Ann Curry, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Rock Center co-owner Jerry Speyer, former astronaut Buzz Aldrin and Santa Claus were on hand to flip the switch on the 30,000 lights decorating the tree. (Photo by Joe Vericker/PhotoBureau Inc.)

Rockefeller Center tree lighting Rockefeller Center Wednesday, 12.04.02, 7 PM to 9 PM
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Despite a chilly night, a crowd of 200,000 filled Rockefeller Center to watch the annual tree lighting ceremony, with NBC's Today show co-hosts Ann Curry and Al Roker playing M.C. again this year. After a slew of performances by singers including Sheryl Crow, Michelle Branch and Barry Manilow, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg—along with Santa Claus, former astronaut Buzz Aldrin and Rock Center co-owner Jerry Speyer—flipped the switch for the 30,000 lights decorating the 76-foot tree.

Local affiliate WNBC's program director Adele Rifkin andTrans World International's Steve Mayer produced the made-for-television event, which aired nationwide on NBC.

The surrounding restaurants operated by Restaurant Associates hosted several V.I.P. parties during the festivities: Talent and execs from NBC and parent company General Electric took to the Rock Center Cafe, while the Sea Grill hosted a party for Rock Center owner Tishman Speyer.

Jill Musguire

Read about last year's tree lighting ceremony...

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