The lighting of Macy’s Great Tree on Thanksgiving evening, Nov. 26, will feature country music entertainer Josh Turner, former American Idol and gospel vocalist Mandisa, SoReal Cru, a popular seven-person storytelling dance group, rising star singer Stephen Norwood and the 40-voice Macy’s Holiday Choir.

The lighting of the tree on Thanksgiving night is a 62-year Atlanta tradition that draws thousands of families to Lenox Square mall and an even larger audience watching the an hour-long television broadcast on WSB-TV from 7-8 pm. The pre-show show begins at 6:30 pm in the Lenox Square parking lot, 3343 Peachtree Road.

Across Georgia, the state’s tallest and fullest evergreen trees hope to become the Great Tree at Lenox Square Mall. The lucky specimen is decorated with ornaments the size of basketballs and erected for all to see on the roof of the shopping center.

Atlanta natives remember when the tree-lighting took place at the downtown Rich’s department store, beginning in 1947. The tree, along with the traditional Pink Pig train ride, moved from the downtown Rich’s to the Lenox Square Macy’s when the Rich’s store closed downtown in 1991.

The annual tree-lighting event now is handled through the Macy’s New York Parade and Entertainment Group, which, according to local Atlanta coordinators, is “excited about this and the Pink Pig.”

–John Schaffner