On Thursday, November 18th, the UNICEF Snowflake lighting ceremony took place at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and 57th Street in New York City. UNICEF Ambassador Vern Yip, lit the UNICEF Snowflake to signify the beginning of the gift-giving season around the world.
The UNICEF Snowflake, donated by the Stonbely family, has become an iconic fixture in New York City during the holiday season. It was handcrafted by German lighting designer Ingo Maurer and is adorned with 16,000 Baccarat crystal prisms. At 23 feet in diameter, over 28 feet in height and weighing 3,300 pounds, the UNICEF Snowflake is the largest outdoor chandelier of its kind. The UNICEF Snowflake will be illuminated for the entire holiday season.
R&B singer Keri Hilson attended the ceremonial UNICEF Snowflake lighting ceremony. Keri also performed on stage alongside Broadway Kids Care who performed holiday songs at the ceremony.
Broadway Kids Care was founded in 2007 and is an organization that brings together children from current and past Broadway shows and gives them the opportunity to perform community service.
It was a cold and windy night, but a crowd of about 250 people gathered to mark the beginning of the holiday season. Clay was joined by NBA legend Darryl Dawkins for the lighting of the UNICEF snowflake.
The Brooklyn Youth Chorus entertained that night with holiday carols before Clay Aiken came onto the stage. He was also joined by three young teen – aged girls who were the winners of the UNICEF holiday card contest.
Clay gave an impassioned speech about his experiences with UNICEF and joked with the young people on stage. The crowd was supportive and seemed to enjoy the event.
The videos below show Clay’s speech from that evening. He was articulate and seemed so at ease.