The Boston Common Tree Lighting ceremony returns for its 76th year this week.
The annual festivities kick off at 6 p.m. on Nov. 30 with a special show featuring musical acts and more. Channel 5 will air a live, televised broadcast of the ceremony on Thursday night.
Though it’s the 76th tree lighting, this year’s festivities will mark the centennial of a disaster that still links Boston and Nova Scotia today. In 1917, when two ships collided in Halifax Harbor causing an explosion that killed nearly 2,000 people and injured close to 9,000, Boston quickly dispatched medical personnel and much-needed supplies to Nova Scotia.
Each year, a Nova Scotian tree is sent south of the border as a show of gratitude and unity in the aftermath of the 1917 catastrophe. This year’s tree will come from Bob and Marion Campbell, a couple from Inverness County, Nova Scotia, Canadian officials said in a release.
“We will never forget the support the people of Boston and the surrounding area provided,” Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil said in a release. “As a thank you, and to mark our ongoing friendship, we are very pleased once again to give the gift of a beautiful Nova Scotia Christmas tree and celebrate the season in your city.”
McNeil and Mayor Marty Walsh will preside over the festivities, which are being organized by the Boston Parks and Recreation Department. An array of holiday lights throughout the Common will illuminate in sequence shortly before 8 p.m., when Walsh and McNeil will take the stage alongside members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for the lighting of the 53-foot white spruce.
WCVB’s Anthony Everett and Shayna Seymour will host Channel 5’s live broadcast, in which those in attendance and television viewers will get to see live acts by Nova Scotian group Port Cities, Kara Dioguardi, the cast of “Elf: The Musical,” Ellis C. Dawson III from the cast of “Aladdin,” the Boston Pops Gospel Choir, plus headliner All 4 One.
If you go:
Nov. 30, 6 p.m., Boston Common, Boston, boston.gov