BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Mark the night. The holiday season officially begins in Baltimore. The sky is lit up with fireworks and the Washington Monument is now bathed in light.

Christie Ileto has more on the spectacle.

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The monument lighting is one of Baltimore’s premiere events, and this year certainly didn’t disappoint.

Crowds of spectators led the countdown to the lighting at Baltimore’s Washington Monument.

“It is the kickoff of the holiday season,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

Ravens defensive end Chris Canty helped the city get in the holiday mood.

“Just feeling the Baltimore spirit around the holiday and just being a part of it, just embracing that feeling. It’s just really exciting, the energy and the atmosphere. It’s just great to be a part of it,” he said.

The 42nd annual monument lighting illuminates Mt. Vernon.

“Very bright, I would say,” one spectator said.

Residents even came early to stake out a good spot.

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“Especially from here, this is the best seat in the house,” another spectator said.

Every year, the festivities draw some 5,000 people to Mt. Vernon. One of the big differences this year — the weather is unseasonably warm.

“We’ve been hearing about it for awhile and I guess the warm weather brought everyone out. It’s an awesome turnout,” Michael Thomas said.

“I like the drums!” a little girl named Lily said.

And for Lily, a first timer at the light show, she was more mesmerized by the choirs.

Hours of preparation went into assembling the stage, the lights, and of course, the pyrotechnics. And judging by the happy faces in the crowd, this year’s light show was none other than a very big success.

The lights stay on throughout the holiday, and come January, renovations begin on the monument.

Some 16,000 bulbs on 84 strands of light decorate the monument this holiday.

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