NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Keep an eye on the New Haven Green — this year’s holiday tree has arrived!
“We would go out and put lights around the tree and decorate it to start the Christmas holiday season,” Maki Zemke of Meriden said.
The 50-foot Norway Spruce tree was delivered to the Green on Thursday morning after bringing a lot of holiday joy to the Drapeau family in Meriden.
That was a lot easier when their parents first planted it in their year around 1980.
“We decorated it every year,” Kelly Drapeau said. “As it got taller, my father got on the step stool, and we would still decorate it. Needless to say, it outgrew our ladders.”
The Drapeaus donated a tree from a previous house to be Meriden’s Christmas tree. After their parents passed away, Kelly and her siblings decided they should also donate this tree.
“This was their wish to continue their tradition, to continue to decorate for Christmas and enjoy every holiday to the fullest,” Kelly Drapeau said.
“Kelly Drapeau emailed my office and said, ‘We’ve got this beautiful tree, do you want it?’ We said, ‘We’ll take a look,” New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker said.
Forty-three years of history came down, or rather, up, in just minutes. Then the tree hit the road to the New Haven Green. This is where the real work begins.
“We just ordered 8,000 zip ties,” Annie Mixsell, the City of New Haven’s tree warden, said. “It’s a zip-tie every six inches, and they put about 30,000 lights on.”
Creating that dazzling show will take the next four weeks, and thousands will get to enjoy it later this month. What they won’t see is that tucked away somewhere in that tree will be a Christmas card honoring the memory of Kelly and Kami’s parents, but they’ll know.
“It’s sad. There’s a lot of memories, but it’s time that it goes, and the tradition will carry on, and it will be lit in my dad and my mom’s name,” Kelly Drapeau said.
When New Haven takes a tree, they offer to plant one. After some debate, Kelly said yes, she would like another Norway Spruce in her yard. So, they will grind down that stump, plant another tree, and who knows? Maybe in another 43 years, this one will be ready to be donated to some city.
News 8 is the sponsor for the tree lighting. The event will be aired live at 7 p.m. Nov. 30.
Last year’s tree, a 45-foot Norway Spruce, was donated by a family in East Haven.