For more than six decades, generations of Atlantans have welcomed the holiday season with the lighting of the Macy’s Great Tree. The tradition continues this year as American Idol Season 10 winner Scotty McCreery takes the stage along with performances by Grammy Award winning gospel duo Mary Mary, Season 8 winner of So You Think You Can Dance and Georgia native Melanie Moore as well as 2011 rising star Erica Nicole.

The lighting will take place in front of Macy’s at Lenox Square Mall from 7 to 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving night. A pre-show concert featuring behind the scenes interviews and exciting performances by the evening’s entertainers will begin at 6:15 p.m. The celebration will be capped off with a fireworks finale set to holiday music.

The tree will be decked out in 100 Macy’s stars and 100 white snowflakes along with 1,200 multi-colored metallic basketball-sized ornaments. The tree will have 50 flashing strobe lights, 400 internally lit ornaments, 4,000 11-watt bulbs and will be topped with a color changing star. The tree has 8.2 miles of circuit wiring throughout to keep all of the lights bright.

For more than seven years, young patients of the Aflac Cancer Center and Blood Disorders Service of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta have served as the honorary tree-lighters. Helping to ‘flip the switch’ and illuminate the Macy’s Great Tree this year are Aflac Cancer Center patients Gabrielesimone Washington and Lana Turner.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.