By Alex DeMetrick

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A Christmas tradition that comes with a bit more noise.

Alex DeMetrick was in Mount Vernon for the annual lighting of the Washington Monument.

The first Thursday of December marks a unique Baltimore tradition, right down to the lights, fireworks and the crowd.

The finale may sparkle, but it isn’t the only thing drawing an estimated 7,000 people to Mount Vernon for the 44th annual lighting of the Washington Monument.

Some come every year.

“Oh, it’s just exciting at Christmas time, and just to see the decorations in Mount Vernon. It’s always impressive,” said Glenda Jones.

And others…

“It’s my first year, and I’m really enjoying myself,” said Kirk Wiggins.

“And I heard about all the fun festivities and I am a super Christmas-a-holic,” said Kristi Wilson.

Lacey Sen thought she would just be walking Roxie, her dog, when they bumped into it.

“I’ll have to bring my husband now, drag him along, too,” she said.

And there was good cheer–even if the air felt like winter.

“So far, it’s cold,” said one woman.

“It’s cold,” a little girl said.

Not cold enough for some.

“I love snow. I’m looking forward to being out of school. I hate school,” said Zane Phillips.

A wish might be in order; if not a star, maybe just under 17,000 lights will do.

But then there’s that finale. It is one of the closest-to-the-crowd fireworks displays in the country. That had the fire marshal and pyrotechnic crew keeping a close eye on the wind, but it calmed enough for the show to go safely on.

This may be the 44th lighting ceremony, but it also marks the 186th Christmas for the Washington Monument.

This is also the first Christmas in decades the monument is open to visitors after a $6 million renovation.

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