- Associated Press - Friday, December 4, 2015

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Gov. Robert Bentley will light the state’s Christmas tree during a ceremony at the Alabama Capitol.

The festivities begin at 5:30 p.m. Friday evening on the Capitol steps. This year’s 35-foot cedar tree is decorated with 40,000 lights.

American Idol winner Taylor Hicks and the 151st Army National Guard Band will perform at the ceremony.

The ceremony will be followed by an open house at executive branch offices at the Capitol. Children can take photos with Santa Claus.

Visitors are asked to bring an unwrapped gift to the ceremony to donate to a child in Alabama’s foster care system.

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