RALEIGH -- It's a yearly tradition to kick off the holiday season at the State Capitol with the annual tree lighting. 

Governor Roy Cooper and his family were there to help light the Christmas tree along with Santa Claus on Wednesday night.

It didn't happen without a brief protest by some people showing support for Dreamers. The demonstration was only minutes long and happened before the ceremony.

Now that the tree is shining bright, the holiday events continue. 

The Executive Mansion opened from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday following the lighting to show off holiday decorations. It will be open to the public Thursday, Dec. 7 through  Saturday, Dec. 9 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

The Capitol is also open with music in the rotunda throughout the day December 7th and 8th from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. On Saturday the 9th, the Capitol opens at 10 a.m and Santa returns from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. that same day.

The Capitol will collect non-perishable food donations to benefit the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle with all donations between now and Dec. 16 going to the shuttle's "School Pantries" program.

All the events are free and reservations are not needed or accepted.