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Spirit in the air

South Coast Plaza installs traditional tree in courtyard outside of Westin.

October 24, 2008

Because it’s still two months before Christmas, the executives working in offices at the tops of the tall buildings across Bristol Street from South Coast Plaza must have been confused Friday morning as a 96-foot-tall fir tree floated in front of their windows.

The tree is one of many in a long line of evergreen trees that have been a holiday staple in Costa Mesa for more than a quarter-century.

This year’s tree is a 60-year-old white fir that was carted all the way from Mt. Shasta at the northern tip of California.

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Every year a giant Christmas tree is hoisted up by a giant crane in the courtyard outside of the Westin South Coast Plaza hotel, and thousands of lights are strung through its nettles.

In front of an anticipated crowd of thousands of people, the tree will light up Nov. 20 and Santa Claus will take a pre-Thanksgiving break from his toy-making duties to listen to kids’ requests.

The tree arrived in its resting place at dawn Friday morning and a 200-ton crane picked it up by the trunk and set it down in the middle of the plaza where it was affixed to a wooden base.

The other famous tree in town, put up at Fashion Island, won’t show up until after Halloween and the lighting ceremonies will take place Nov. 21 and 22.

— Alan Blank

For more photos, click here.


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