“Free” Tree Lighting Tickets Sold Online

Dozens trying to profit from annual D.C. tradition

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    WASHINGTON - DECEMBER 03: As the White House is lit in the background, the National Christmas Tree's lights are turned on during its annual lighting ceremony at the Ellipse December 3, 2009 in Washington, DC. Lighting the National Christmas Tree is a yearly tradition for the President of the United State during the holiday season. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

    The price of a D.C. holiday tradition is apparently up to the highest bidder.

    Many people have been trying to sell tickets they received for free to Thursday's National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. 

    The National Park Service distributed 13,000 tickets through an online lottery system during the beginning of November.

    Anyone who got the tickets should know they are not for profit.

    "Before you submit your information, you have to read the information in the rules that says the tickets are not to be sold, they're not to be made for profit,” said Bill Line, a spokesperson for the National Park.

    Applicants had to click on an agreement on the website before they could be entered into the drawing.

    NBC Washington found dozens of ads in the last several days alone that listed tree lighting tickets for up to $100 each.

    The National Park Service admits that it would be difficult to prosecute any offenders.

    "The National Park Service has no authority over Craigslist or any other online service that may try to sell tickets,” Line said.

    The National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony has been held near the White House for nearly 90 years.  It has always been free.

    Thursday’s lighting is set to begin at 5 p.m.

    For more information on road closures, click here.  For info on the lineup of performers, click here.