By Philip Sean Curran
It was not quite the night before Christmas, but Santa Claus still made time to help Princeton usher in the holiday season at the annual Christmas tree lighting in Palmer Square on Nov. 23.
More than 32,000 lights on a 65-foot-tall Norwegian Spruce illuminated the night sky in front of a crowd that gathered on the lawn in front of the Nassau Inn on a cold early evening that felt more like winter than fall.
“This has become a tradition for so many families here in Princeton and we are so happy to share the evening with you,” Lori Rabon, vice president of Palmer Square management, said during the program. “Who needs Rockefeller (Center) when you’ve got Palmer Square?”
Through the night, there was music and entertainment, including the Princeton High School choir singing Christmas carols and the American Repertory Ballet performing a selection from the “Nutcracker.”
Some children sat on their parents’ shoulders to get a better view of the stage where the performers were. As usual, the guest of honor came dressed in a red and white suit.
Despite falling on his way out of the Nassau Inn, Santa stayed jolly for the occasion.
“What a beautiful crowd!” he called out to a crowd that returned the love. “I love coming for Princeton and beautiful Palmer Square.”
As the crowd counted down, there was a roar as the lights on the spruce tree came on. One young spectator sought to sum up the moment.
“Grandma, look,” one child exclaimed.