Tree lighting on Green draws a crowd

Friday, December 5, 2008 1:58 PM EST
By Rachael Scarborough King, Register Staff

NEW HAVEN — With a flip of a switch, the Christmas tree on the Green erupted in twinkling blue, red and green lights Thursday night as hundreds of people celebrated the holiday season at the annual tree-lighting ceremony.

Downtown had a festive atmosphere on a relatively mild December night, with children and adults cheering and enjoying carousel rides and visits with Santa. Mayor John DeStefano Jr. was joined onstage by Ronald McDonald and anchors from WTNH-TV during the ceremony.

Resident June Patton said that she has attended the tree lighting every year for decades. This year, she came with her daughters and four grandchildren.

“We’ve been coming since my children were little. We love it,” she said. “It’s a great event in New Haven. You can see it draws all kinds of people.”

Wendy and Nick Silkey, on the other hand, were attending for the first time, having recently moved to the city from Texas. They watched the lighting with their 19-month-old son, Noah.

“(It’s) just a fun family event, seeing the Christmas tree, enjoying the Northeastern experience,” Wendy Silkey said.

Several people praised the free event as being good for families looking to watch their budgets during the holidays.

Jackie Everson, also of New Haven, was at the ceremony with her 8-year-old son and 17-year-old daughter. She said it was the second year she has attended. “I think it’s beautiful that they’re doing this for the community,” she said. “It’s a nice event and you get to see people you haven’t seen in years.”

The 80-foot Norway spruce, which was donated by St. Augustine Roman Catholic Church in Seymour, will remain lit in the center of the Green throughout the holidays.

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