Decorating the tree at Lyme Academy of Fine Arts (CT Examiner/Hewitt)

Friday Tree Lighting and Celebration at Lyme Academy of Fine Arts

OLD LYME — The Lyme Academy of Fine Arts will host a tree lighting on Friday at 4 p.m. followed by holiday music and activities.

“We decided that Lyme Academy of Fine Arts would have a tree lighting this year just because we have this wonderful space where you can fit a lot of people and it’s a great place to put a tree,” said Stacey Leonardo, strategic planning assistant for the academy on Monday. This week a 14-foot tree will be installed in front of the academy’s administration building.

Leonardo said the idea came in part from the overwhelming community response to the pumpkin program the academy provided for Region 18 Schools at Halloween.

“We provided pumpkins for all the kids and all the art teachers kind of took it from there and had kids paint pumpkins, some kids carved pumpkins, and we brought them here to the academy,” she said. “On Halloween we had about 800 people come to see the pumpkins.”

“We had so many people come in that we thought it would be nice to open up to the community again with something else fun and also to try to combine it once again with Region 18 schools,” she said.

After the tree lighting, the middle school band will play holiday songs in the academy’s barn, followed by ornament-making in the Elizabeth Gordon Chandler Center. Hot chocolate and cookies will be provided.

Also on hand will be Elves handing out candy canes and collecting letters to Santa, as well as an exhibit of trains on loan from the Essex Steam Train.

The event is supported by the Old Lyme Chamber of Commerce and Essex Savings Bank, and the academy will collect donations of canned goods for the Shoreline Soup Kitchens.

“Everyone is invited and we want to make this a warm event for the community to start the holiday season,” said Leonardo.

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