Comfortable temperatures Friday made for a festive evening for the annual Franklin Christmas Tree Lighting on the Square.
Approximately 5,000 people descended upon the square downtown to get a family photo with Santa, admire the artificial snow or get a photo next to the vibrantly lit tree.
The evening kicked off with a variety of Christmas classics performed by Freedom Intermediate School Honors Choir. The featured performance of the evening was Jars of Clay, who was later accompanied by former “Today Show” co-host Kathie Lee Gifford for a few songs, including one Gifford wrote specifically about her new home in Franklin.
In addition, Gifford also served as the event emcee and described her move to Franklin.
“I don’t have any plans of going anywhere,” she said to the crowd. “[Franklin] is a beautiful town, the loveliest people. You all have a culture of kindness here. God Bless you.”
Before the artificial snow fell and the tree was lit, Franklin Mayor Ken Moore thanked the many sponsors who made the event possible. Moore and Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation President Chris Jones put the two ends of a power plug together, and the tree came to life. So did the crowd.
“What a great time tonight for the 20th celebration of the lighting of the tree in Franklin,” Moore said.