SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — An annual tradition kicks off the holiday season in Downtown Scranton.

A simple flick of a switch and the holiday season is underway.

Hundreds gathered on Thanksgiving Eve to watch Santa Claus himself light the Times Radio Tower in the Electric City.

“It’s so exciting to be down here with all these people. We were here over the weekend for the Santa Parade and it’s so much warmer today so that makes it so much better but, it’s so exciting!” said Leanne and Kylie Symuleski from Eynon.

The block party on Penn Avenue featured live performances, vendors, food trucks, and plenty of festive fun for families and people of all ages.

“Wonderful, wonderful way to start the holiday, and look at all the people! Look at the vendors that are working, wonderful!” said Donna Mancuso from Jermyn.

Children sang and danced below the iconic 296-foot tower that’s decorated with nearly 500 lights, known as the tallest Christmas tree in NEPA.

“It’s nice to see all these people downtown. It is a kickoff, hopefully, they’ll shop and spend money in our area and park and eat in our restaurants and stay in our hotels,” said Ginny Marcks from Scranton.

For many, this event is a warm reminder of what the season is all about.

“Happy Thanksgiving. We have so much to be thankful for, we’re very lucky, very blessed,” said Mancuso.

The tradition of lighting the tower began in 1960 and has since grown into something truly magical, making spirits bright.