FAIRFIELD, Conn. — Hundreds gathered at the former General Electric headquarters on Easton Turnpike on Wednesday evening for the start of what is likely to be a new annual tradition — the lighting of the holiday tree at the Sacred Heart University West Campus.
With Sacred Heart not set to take possession of the property until Dec. 16, neighbors had wondered whether they would see the familiar tree that GE always decorated near the entrance of the corporate campus.
“One of the first things we heard when news broke of the purchase — especially on social media — was that folks hoped we would continue the tradition of the tree,” said SHU President John J. Petillo.
The president welcomed the crowd, who sang along with the Sacred Heart University Choir and posed for photos with Santa and the SHU mascot, Big Red the Pioneer. Many clutched cups of steaming hot cocoa on the chilly evening.
A group of youngsters moved to the front of the group to officially flip the switch on the tree, which lit up in SHU-themed red and white lights.
“We wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a peaceful season ahead,” said Santa Claus.
The brief ceremony concluded with the choir singing carols into the evening.
The lit tree is visible throughout the area and even to motorists on the nearby Merritt Parkway.
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