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Tree-lighting ceremony officially opens $1.5M Bright Lights Windsor festival

With a shoutout to Windsor and Detroit's joint-bid for Amazon's HQ2, Mayor Drew Dilkens called on a "special guest," company's popular digital assistant, to illuminate a massive tree coated in lights at the heart of Jackson Park's $1.5 million holiday lights display.

Free event runs from Dec. 8 to Jan. 7

The $1.5 million dollar holiday light display was turned on Friday night. 0:44

Alexa, turn on the Christmas tree!

With a shoutout to Windsor and Detroit's joint-bid for Amazon's HQ2, Mayor Drew Dilkens called on a "special guest," the company's popular digital assistant Alexa, to illuminate a massive tree coated in lights at the heart of Jackson Park's $1.5 million holiday lights display.

The Bright Lights Windsor festival is officially open.

The flashing colours along the 20-metre tree drew gasps and squeals of delight from a crowd of thousands who gathered to watch the kick off ceremony.

 "It's one of the best trees in the world," said Dilkens, who estimated it cost the city about $400,000. "You just look around here, look at the people that are here. There's a great excitement in the community about this festival."

Bright Lights Windsor festival extended until Tuesday, Jan. 9. (Chris Ensing/CBC)

The event will run from Dec. 8 to Jan. 7 and is free of charge.

"At the tail end of the year where we're celebrating our 125th birthday, we wanted this to be a capstone event and a legacy project," the mayor explained. "Now that we've made an investment in the items in the park, you will see them next year and in future years."

Thousands attended the opening ceremony and posed for pictures with the lights display. (Chris Ensing/CBC)

Dilkens also had a simple message for any detractors.

"Just come and see it. You'll be impressed."