City, News

Decking out Faneuil Hall

Frigid temperatures did not stop people from witnessing the 24th annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at Faneuil Hall Marketplace on Saturday night.

The 70-foot Douglas-fir tree was donated by John Egan of Andover. The tree weighs 9,000 pounds and was covered with 15,000 white lights and had 1,000 red, green and gold ball ornaments.

Mayor Thomas Menino, Bruins Hall-of-Famer Ray Bourque and Red Sox mascot Wally the Green Monster flicked the switch to illuminate the tree.

‘I’ll be short and sweet, so happy holidays everybody,’ Menino said.

Mix 98.5 radio personality Gregg Daniels emceed the event and musical groups Jada, Ernie and the Automatics and Victorian Carolers entertained the crowd with traditional holiday classics.

Though the mercury dropped to about 20 degrees, the weather did not seem to affect people’s excitement.

‘We have been to Faneuil Hall many times before, but this is our first time at the tree lighting,’ said Joan Meade of Randolph. ‘It helps to bring out the spirit of Christmas.’

Lance Varughes of Long Island, N.Y., said he made sure Faneuil Hall was on his checklist for his daytrip to Boston.

‘I came here tonight to get a sense of what the Boston spirit is all about, and boy, it is everything it is hyped up to be,’ he said. ‘The lighting was awesome.’

Tourists from abroad also said they caught the spirit of Boston at Faneuil Hall.

‘This is our first time in Boston and we just knew we had to see all the fuss about the largest Christmas tree in New England,’ said Katharina Rucks and Andrea Knopps, two au pairs from Germany. ‘It is really cold, but we will manage!’

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