Jessie James Decker, Chevel Shepherd, more perform at National Christmas tree lighting

Jermaine Rowley, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – It was 40 degrees. It was windy. But that didn’t dampen the festive air as people sat bundled up in winter coats, waiting for the 2019 National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on Thursday. 

More than 500 people gathered on The Ellipse, south of The White House, to watch the spectacular show. First lady Melania Trump lit the 30-foot Colorado blue spruce from Palmyra, Pennsylvania, for the first time. The tree is surrounded by 56 smaller trees representing every U.S. state, territory and the District of Columbia.

“I always appreciated the opportunity to see things like this,” said Gretchen Kimbrough, 42, a nurse from New Jersey. She said she got tickets for the event from a friend who couldn’t attend. “And I just wanted to share that with my kids.”

Jessie James Decker performed at the 2019 National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on Dec. 5, 2019.

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President Donald Trump made some remarks and wished everyone a merry Christmas to kick off the holiday season.

The White House’s windows, dressed in balsam wreaths, served as stunning backdrop to the performances. Presented by the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation, the event was hosted by country star Jessie James Decker, who was backed up by Max Impact, the rock band of the United States Air Force. Other performers included singers Spensha Baker, Colton Dixon and Chevel Shepherd, winner of Season 15 of NBC’S “The Voice.”

"The Voice" Season 15 winner Chevel Shepherd performed at the 2019 National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in Washington on Dec. 5, 2019

Wearing an elegant gown that matched the bright Christmas tree behind her, the 17-year-old from Farmington, New Mexico, sang a beautiful rendition of “Go Tell it On the Mountain." Tucson Arizona Boys Chorus, The United States Marine Band and West Tennessee Youth Chorus also performed.  

The National Christmas tree will be lit every day from about 4:30 to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 on Friday and Saturday, according to the park service. You can visit the tree until Jan. 1.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Jessie James Decker, more perform at National Christmas tree lighting