The annual New Haven Holiday Tree Lighting is set for today on the historic green in the Elm City.
The afternoon will kick off at 4 p.m. with several fun activities: hay rides, musical performances, a petting zoo, a ferris wheel, costumed characters and a carousel.
Santa will arrive around 4 p.m. and visit with children wanting to get in their holiday wish ahead of Christmas.
The event is free and open to the public.
NBC Connecticut will be broadcasting live during the 4-6:30 p.m. news followed by the official tree lighting holiday special from 7-7:30 p.m. You'll be able to watch the show on air on NBC Connecticut, online at nbcconnecticut.com, and in our mobile app, which works on both Apple (available through the App Store) and Android phones (available through Google Play).
During the 7 p.m. show, the youth choir from Our Lady of Victory in West Haven will sing after winning the NBC CT Choral Contest. During the contest, the choir received nearly 5,000 votes of the almost 10,000 votes cast online. The choir is led by director Ed Perez.
The centerpiece of the evening will be the lighting of the tree, which arrived on the green in late October. It was cut from Elizabeth LaPointe’s yard in Branford earlier that morning.
The 65-foot-tall Norway Spruce weighs more than 10,000 pounds and has been on her Branford property for more than 50 years.
“Well that’s not my tree anymore,” LaPointe said. “It’s New Haven’s.”
LaPointe’s husband and a neighbor planted the tree and her family decorated it for the holidays for two years, until it became too big.
It’s massive size caught the attention of New Haven Parks and Recreation, according to manager Bill Carone.
“Staff members drove by this tree a couple of months ago, and it was one of our top three, and we decided to go to this one,” Carone said.
"We look for a lot of the same things that homeowners look for in their tree," said Rebecca Bombero, director of New Haven Parks, Recreation, and Trees Department. "You want something that is straight and tall and full."
LaPointe was surprised when the department came knocking at her door because she thought someone had made a complaint about the tree.
“I thought, ‘Why are they here?’ Then he said something about, ‘Well, did you call a couple of years ago to have it out as a Christmas tree on the New Haven Green?’ Then it dawned on me, yes I did,” she said.
LaPointe said she’s looking forward to seeing the tree lit for the first time on Nov. 30, but is more excited about the future of her giving tree.
She’s been told that when it comes down after Christmas, it’ll be used to, “make park benches, lumber for Houses for Humanity. So that, that makes me happy,” she said.
The tree will be decorated with 30,000 LED bulbs in time for the tree lighting ceremony Thursday.
Come down to the green, watch the tree lighting in-person, and meet a number of NBC Connecticut personalities, including Kerri-Lee Mayland, Kevin Nathan, Ryan Hanrahan, Justin Schecker, and Leslie Mayes.
NBC Connecticut is proud to be the exclusive television media partner of the winter festivities in New Haven.