[ccfic caption-text format="plaintext"]
By Laura Drinan
Hometown Weekly Reporter
Throughout the day, Needham families enjoyed mingling with local merchants while creating holiday crafts and participating in children’s activities. As the sun set, though, the festivities were moved outside to the town common, where Needhamites awaited December’s most anticipated town event: the lighting of the Blue Tree.
Huddling together to keep warm with hot chocolates in hand, tree lighting goers enjoyed a concert from Needham’s teen rock band, Plugged In, and admired the Girl Scouts’ and Brownies’ caroling. Olin College’s fire performers were readying to perform after the tree lighting, as well.
Needham’s Louise Condon, who led the Blue Tree lighting ceremony, soon turned the attendees’ attention to the several guest speakers who accompanied her, including Rev. Darrell Minnich of the Good Shepherd Christian Fellowship, Selectwoman Marianne Cooley, Selectman Moe Handel, Rep. Denise Garlick, and Needham Business Association President Paul Good.
“I moved into the town in 1985, and I think I’ve been to virtually every one of these [tree lightings],” said Good. “It’s really great to be a part of a town that has a really great community that participates and comes together to do so many community things.”
Good assured Needhamites that the Blue Tree lighting will continue next year, despite the Needham Business Association’s merge with Newton-Needham Commerce this coming January.
Doing the honors of lighting the Blue Tree this year was Fred Muzi, who lead the countdown and hit the button to light the tree.
Santa Claus, having seen the glowing blue lights on the town common, hitched a ride with the Needham Fire Department to visit the children. Welcomed with cheers from the children and Christmas carols from Plugged In, Santa greeted and listened to the requests of each and every child on the steps of Town Hall.
“This has been going on for 63 years. Except I haven’t been doing this for 63 years – only 20,” Condon joked. She turned to face the common and admire masses surrounding the Blue Tree. “Look at the turnout here, there’s so many people.
“This is just something we look forward to every year.”