Winter's Eve celebration takes over Lincoln Square

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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

UPPER WEST SIDE (WABC) -- A holiday tradition is being renewed Monday night on Manhattan's Upper West Side. It's the 15th year for the Winter's Eve celebration at Lincoln Square.

WABC-TV is the co-sponsor.

When the holiday tree is lit up, it's a sparkling reminder that the holiday season has begun.

Winter's eve is one big neighborhood party, with restaurants spilling onto the sidewalks so people can graze on their offerings.

This year you'll find lamb kebabs, cheesy gnocchi and chicken pot pie, to name just a few dishes. It's a great way to check out what's on the menu and hopefully come back to spots you may never have visited, like Lincoln Center Kitchen.

And sprinkled along the way are live performances.

Among those taking part in the event is a group who were winners of a nationwide contest in Japan last year called the Global Japan Challenge.

They're in New York studying at the Professional Children's School with the hopes of learning English, while spending hours on end perfecting their routines.

Eric Negron is their choreographer, and he's danced with some of the biggest stars like Beyonce and Jennifer Lopez.

"Too talented, to the point like, I'd rather drop everything else and be here," he said.

He praised their potential, adding that they could become global stars.

In Japan, big groups like this are especially popular, and just watching them makes you want to jump in and learn the moves.

But it's much more enjoyable to sit back and take in their energy.

And at Winter's Eve, you have a chance to.

It's one of about a dozen performances Monday night in the festival, which starts at 5:30 p.m. and runs until 9 p.m. The tree lighting happens just before 6 p.m.

Eyewitness News anchor Sade Baderinwa will co-host along with Billy Porter, the star of "Kinky Boots" on Broadway. He'll be emceeing, but don't expect to see him dressed like his character Lola. He'll be stepping out of those boots for this year's Winter's Eve celebration.