CORAL GABLES, FLA. (WSVN) - The holiday season officially kicked off Thursday night at the 20th Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony in Coral Gables, bringing festive cheer to Merrick Park.

7News’ Alex de Armas hosted the event, joined by Coral Gables Mayor Vince Lago in flipping the switch to illuminate the dazzling 50-foot tree. The ceremony featured a special appearance by Santa and Mrs. Claus, spreading Christmas magic from the North Pole.

The night’s festivities included enchanting performances by the Miami Royal Ballet and Coral Gables Senior High School Gablettes.

Local singer Preston Howell, a former contestant on NBC’s The Voice, added to the celebration. Attendees enjoyed holiday costumed characters, a 360° photo booth, and the highly anticipated appearance of Santa Claus.

The “Back to Tradition” event at the Shops at Merrick Park marked the beginning of the holiday season, uniting the community in the joyous spirit of the festivities.

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