Those who couldn't make it out to the famed tree lighting at Rockefeller Plaza in New York City joined Mayor Bob Buckhorn along with several other community leaders for the Ybor City version on Wednesday evening.
A ceremony to light the 34-foot holiday tree in Centro Ybor began with carolers Jackson Crawford, Erin Lowe, Shay Cambre and Paul Iankov; courtesy of Busch Gardens. The quartet performed a second time after Santa and Mrs. Claus arrived in their stretch Hummer limo, which was followed by an armored truck loaded with presents.
After the tree lighting ceremony The Ritz Ybor hosted the Fourth Annual Miracle on 7th Avenue to benefit the Pediatric Cancer Foundation. Last year they raised $100,278 and this years goal was to raise $125,000-plus. Raffles, a silent auction, holiday-themed cocktails and photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus were all ways to donate to this great cause. Sunday's and La Table Du Chef provided complimentary hors d’oeuvres.
Nancy Crane, the director of the foundation also presented a stage full of kids with their first bicycles. The children were overwhelmed with emotion when they heard they would be going out to the parking lot to pick out a new set of wheels. The scene conjured the exhilaration of receiving your first bike again.
Crane's bike giveaway was followed by live holiday entertainment from Event Show Productions, Entertainment Review, Talent Quest Florida, Copeland Center Step Team, Carolers Friends of Brooke Pash, Carl von dem Bussche and Rising Down. If you missed this fantastic evening be sure to join Mayor Bob Buckhorn for the Downtown Tampa Tree Lighting tonight, Nov. 30.
The event begins at 6 p.m. at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park in downtown Tampa and will be followed by the Screen on the Green showing of How the Grinch Stole Christmas.