JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

The Landing's 26th Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony lit up downtown Jacksonville Friday night.

Thousands gathered to see the unveiling of the 56-foot Christmas tree.

"This is our first time actually seeing the lighting of the tree so we brought my family in from out of town because they wanted to see it," said James Strickland.

IMAGES:  Friday-night tree lighting

"This is our first time because we have a new little baby boy and we wanted to bring him down to see the tree," said Pat Wheeler.

The tree features more than 78,000 LED lights and 240 ornaments.

Debra Wellmann moved to Florida from New York City, where she would watch the Big Apple's annual tree lighting ceremony.

"New York's much more crowded, but it's much warmer here," said Wellman.

Sheridon Maham recently moved to Jacksonville from Dallas.

"This is something to come do and get together with people and celebrate Christmas," said Maham.