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Golden Gate Park tree lighting continues 83-year tradition

Hundreds of families recently came out to enjoy the 83rd Annual Holiday Tree Lighting at John Mclaren Lodge in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, according to Digital Journal. The event, a beloved tradition in San Francisco over the past eight decades, helps kickoff the 2012 Holiday Season.

"John McLaren began the tradition of lighting trees along a mile-long stretch of Fell Street leading to the City Tree in front of his home, McLaren Lodge in Golden Gate Park," Phil Ginsburg, San Francisco Rec and Park General Manager, told the news source. "We are proud to continue this heartwarming family tradition and celebrate the holiday season with our fellow San Franciscans."

The tree, an old Monterrey Cypress originally planted by McLaren himself, is considered the official holiday tree for the city of San Francisco, the news source reports. It was adorned with more than 550 multi-colored LED lights to help local residents celebrate the festive season.

The use of environmentally friendly LED holiday lights could save the city a substantial amount on its electricity bill, despite having the tree lit for a long period of time. According to ENERGY STAR, LED lights use at least 75 percent less energy than incandescent lighting, resulting in energy savings.

The tree in Golden Gate Park also featured an ornate decorated train around it, the news source reports. Carnival rides, a cookie factory, arts and crafts stations for children and Santa himself complete the holiday atmosphere in San Francisco's famed park.