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NEW YORK This year, at the 72nd annual Rockefeller Center tree lighting ceremony, three Olympic gold medal winners—gymnasts Paul Hamm and Carly Patterson, and ice skater Sarah Hughes, joined Mayor Michael Bloomberg to flip the switch on 30,000 lights. The lighting of the nine-ton, 71-foot Norway spruce drew thousands of spectators and included performances by Hilary Duff, Clay Aiken, Tony Bennett, Chris Isaak, Vanessa Williams, Jessica Simpson, and Nick Lachey. The event was managed by Glenn Mahoney, director of special events for Tishman Speyer, and produced for WNBC's live television broadcast by Trans World International.
A star-shaped Christmas-tree-topper created by Swarovski was a sparkling addition to the ceremony and was unveiled two weeks before the tree lighting event. The star is made of 25,000 crystals, measures nine and a half feet in diameter, and weighs a total of 550 pounds. Twelve Clarebout herald angels lined the Channel Garden and snow-flake-shaped lighting was projected onto the ice-skating rink, providing additional festive decor.
Read our Impresario Q&A with Glenn Mahoney…
Photos: Paul Hawthorne/Getty Images (tree, people), Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images (Swarovski star, angels)