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Ringing in the holiday season in Scranton

Scranton celebrated the night before Thanksgiving by welcoming back onlookers for the annual tower lighting.

SCRANTON, Pa. — The night before Thanksgiving is traditionally one of the biggest nights of the year for bars and restaurants in northeastern and central Pennsylvania.

For one night, downtown Scranton returned to pre-pandemic life.

The Times Tribune newspaper kicked off the holiday season by lighting the 

"We love the fact that it's our sort of a present to northeastern PA, or at least Lackawanna County every single year," said Times Tribune Advertising Director Paul Ross.

Stretching nearly 400 feet from the ground, the radio tower gets the unofficial distinction as the region's tallest Christmas tree.

Back this year was the Times Tribune block party which attracted hundreds to the street around the newspaper building.

Young and old turned out here for food and entertainment, and ultimately to watch the tower lighting and fireworks.

The block party had to be canceled last year because of COVID-19.

Also back this year, The traditional Wednesday before Thanksgiving night out at area bars and restaurants.

One of the biggest nights of the year Was canceled in 2020 By an order from the governor.

"Just cause of like the pandemic and everything, and everything's opening up a lot more so this way we can do it, and just have fun. Only five dollars to get in so not too bad," said Nick Hengerle from Ale Mary's.

"Last year was very difficult because we weren't able to open at all. So this year we just hope we're kind of thinking it will return to normal," added William Nasser.

Nasser, the co-owner at Backyard Ale House, says his business has seen what he calls a little bit of a bounce since the pandemic restrictions were lifted, and he hopes nights like Wednesday night help him continue on that upward trend.

As for the Scranton Times Tower, the Christmas lights will be lit every night through the holiday season.

 A holiday season which kicked off Wednesday night, the night before Thanksgiving.

You can watch the lighting of the tower below.