Governor Robert Bentley lights up the state's Christmas tree during a ceremony at the Alabama Capitol. The festivities began at 5:30 p.m. this 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 performed at the ceremony. The ceremony was followed by an open house at executive branch offices at the Capitol. Children took photos with Santa Claus. Visitors were asked to bring an unwrapped gift to the ceremony to donate to a child in Alabama's foster care system.