Kayana Szymczak/Boston Globe
The annual tree lighting ceremony kicks off the official holiday season at Faneuil Hall Marketplace this weekend. The daylong festivities begin at 12 p.m. with the arrival of Santa Claus, a performance from "A Christmas Story" and a variety of live entertainment, including more than a dozen singers, dancers and performers on stage throughout the day, along with the best of Faneuil Hall Marketplace's street performers. In the evening, "Blink!", a state-of-the-art light and sound system, will transform the marketplace for a second year as it accompanies a performance by the Boston Holiday Pops. The lighting ceremony will air live on WBZ-TV (Channel 4) and WSBK-TV (Channel 38) from 7:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., and will be hosted by WBZ-TV's Lisa Hughes and Jonathan Elias. It will include special performances by Tanglewood Festival Chorus conducted by Keith Lockhart as well as Grammy-Award winning singer Paula Cole, and The Sugarbabies Band. Mayor Menino will be on hand to help flip the switch, and part of the ceremony will include a special tribute to the outgoing mayor. The light switch will turn on more than 30,000 lights and strobes on the 80-foot tree, the tallest in the northeast. Prior to the performance, from 5:30 - 7 p.m., Keith Lockhart will be on hand to sign copies of a new holiday CD by the Pops. Please note that coolers and backpacks are not permitted on the property during this event. Sat., Nov. 23. Daytime activities begin at noon. Lighting ceremony begins at 7:30 p.m. Free. All ages. Faneuil Hall Marketplace, One Faneuil Hall Square, Boston. www.faneuilhallmarketplace.com
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Kristi Palma, Boston.com Moms producer, is the mom of a first grader and a preschooler. She is a writer who enjoys cooking her grandmother's Italian recipes (when her son isn't launching paper airplanes into them). Follow her on Twitter @kristipalma.