Balboa Park Tree Too Old for Lights: City

35-year-old tradition ends at Balboa Park

By Gitzel Puente
|  Wednesday, Nov 28, 2012  |  Updated 6:16 AM PDT
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Gitzel Puente

The tree, located across the Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park, has been the central decoration for the annual December Nights festival.

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For the past 35 years, thousands of San Diegans come together to watch the community Christmas tree light up during December Nights Festival - but this year, the Balboa Park tree just can't handle it.

San Diego city officials said the tree is too old and fragile for heavy decorations or lights.

One concern is the safety of the electricians who put the lights on the tree because the tree's branches are so bent and broken.

The tree, located across the Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park, has been the central decoration for the annual festival.

Some visitors at Balboa Park agree that the tree is too fragile like Garrett D'Aigle who remembers coming to the tree lighting every year.

"I think if it's a question of whether they burden it with the wires and bulbs and risk having it get stressed and maybe die or letting it sit and surviving longer, then I think that's a better choice," said D'Aigle.

And another visitor says they should find an alternative.

"It's really unfortunate because Balboa Park has been historically where people come here to gather and really celebrate the holiday festivities," expressed Brandon Moreno. "Find another tree, there's a lot of trees in Balboa Park, so find another one to continue the tradition."

City workers say they are already looking for a healthier, replacement tree for the future.

At the December Nights Festival, there are other lit Christmas trees like the one onstage the pavilion. The festival will be held Dec. 7 and 8.

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