ET's Kevin Frazier is in the nation's capitol for The 2010 National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony and the opening ceremonies for the 2010 National Christmas Tree Festival, hosted by hip-hop artist/actor Common!
"You just get a certain happiness just to be a part of something like this," Common tells Kevin. "When you see the first family and you see all the Christmas spirit around, and the kids, it's like, 'Man, I'm a part of this.' It's indescribable in a way."
Performers include Maroon 5, blues legend B.B. King, songwriter and pianist Sara Bareilles, 10-year-old "America's Got Talent" soprano prodigy Jackie Evancho, Jim James from My Morning Jacket, singer-songwriter Ingrid Michaelson, Miss America Caressa Cameron and Washington D.C.'s own Duke Ellington School of the Arts Choir.
Maroon 5 is performing John Lennon's "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" with the Ellington choir, and frontman Adam Levine says, "They're an amazing, amazing bunch of kids with great voices and the song sounds really magical. … Totally, coincidentally, this happens to be very close to the anniversary of [Lennon's] very tragic death, so we're honored to be able to play it, especially at an occasion like this."
The National Tree features 750 strings of white and green LED lights, 430 6-inch LED red, blue, green and white spheres, and 84 white LED snowflakes. That's a lot of lights and decorations! And, of course, the night would not be complete without a special appearance by Santa!
The event is sponsored by Underwriters Laboratories as part of their "Commit a Minute to Safety" campaign (www.safetyathome.com).
"Just being safe over the holidays – it doesn't sound like it's a dangerous time of year, but a lot of houses burn down and there's a lot of drinking and things like that," says Levine. "I think everyone just wants to be encouraged to be responsible. That's the most important thing."
"We've got to make sure that if we drink, we drink and we don't drive," adds Common. "Get in the Christmas spirit, keep your heart open and be open to giving."
Viewers can catch the 2010 National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony and the opening ceremonies beginning Friday on public broadcasting stations nationwide in partnership with WETA, Washington, D.C.'s flagship public broadcasting station.