PANAMA CITY - Panama City officially kicked off the Christmas season Friday night with the annual tree lighting ceremony.
Mayor Greg Brudnicki flipped the switch on the tree and the rest of the Christmas decorations throughout the city.
Since 1972 the Panama City Marina has been home to the city's Christmas tree, but this year officials moved the city's new tree a few blocks up Harrison Avenue to the Mckenzie Gateway Park.
Mayor Greg Brudnicki said, "We usually have this on the marina we are in the middle of working on it. We used to just decorate the magnolia trees down there now we bought a tree."
The 34 foot artificial tree cost the city about $23,000.
It took 10 people five days to assemble, decorate and light the tree with almost 30,000 LED lights.
Mike Faren helped install the tree
"We tested it during the day and we knew it worked. We just didn't see what the result would be at night. We were pleased," Faren said.
The city's new tree isn't the only Christmas attraction downtown.
The Downtown Improvement Board is once again sponsoring a Dickens of a Christmas.
People dressed in period costumes will be strolling the streets, while shoppers take rides in horse drawn carriages.
The kids can take rides on a mini-train and the whole family can go ice skating on a rink on 6th street.
Donna Thompson was at the rink with her two boys Friday night.
"It's so fun. Where in Panama City do you get to ice skate? This is exciting," Thompson said.
The rink is open Fridays from 6:00 to 9:00 at night.
Skate rentals are only a buck.