PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — The Panama City annual Christmas tree lighting took place Friday night.

Dozens gathered outside City Hall’s Grace Avenue entrance to watch the tree as the switch was flipped.

“We make an event out of it, it’s not just lighting the tree,” Mayor Greg Brudnicki said. “Santa comes and a lot of families get together and come out here. It’s the official start to the Christmas season for Panama City. “

From the snow machine, the cookies and hot chocolate, local food vendors, to Santa Claus there was something for everyone to enjoy and get into the Christmas spirit.

“Christmas is one of the best times of the year, and it makes everybody happy, it makes me really happy and I just love it a lot,” attendee Tienna Smith said. “If I rated it from one to ten, I would go over ten and say a million.”

For one young man, he enjoyed every second of the tree lighting.

“(The) Christmas tree, so beautiful,” attendee Jorge DelValle said. “It’s my second time being here. I love this event.”

While many other cities have their Christmas festivities, Mayor Brudnicki believes Panama City’s is the best.

“We had a couple of people here that said they were going to the other ones, too.,” Brudnicki said. “They want to see the difference between the two. I think we’ve got the biggest tree. We’re going to keep on doing that. We’re the premiere city. We’re the biggest city. We’re the hub of Panama City.”

Brudnicki added this event was a great way for people to see all the improvements made around downtown Panama City.