For the 57th year, Needham kicked off the holiday season by lighting a large tree on the Town Common covered entirely by blue bulbs.
The Needham Business Associations' annual Blue Tree Lighting ceremony was held the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Nov. 26, and featured music, words from local officials and a visit from Santa Claus.
The event began around 5:00 p.m. with choirs from Carter Memorial United Methodist Church and Christ Episcopal Church singing carols to warm up the crowd that had gathered at the steps of the Town Hall. On the Town Common, children played with light sabers and other lighted toys as they waited for the big unveiling. Boston radio station 103.3 WODS, "Boston's Holiday Music Station," was on site playing music and giving kids a chance to win prizes by spinning a big wheel.
Needham Business Association president Peter Russell welcomed the crowd and introduced several speakers—the Rev. Robert Windsor of Christ Episcopal Church, Massachusetts Rep. Denise Garlick and Selectman Jerry Wasserman.
Retired Needham Police Chief Tom Leary had the honor of flipping the switch to light the large blue tree on the Town Common. Both that tree and the one on the Needham Heights Common feature all LED lights this year.
After the lighting, Santa Claus arrived by fire truck to a warm welcome from the families waiting to talk with him.