SACRAMENTO — California's Capitol Christmas tree was finally lit – with no fanfare – after concerns over a protest led to the cancellation of the annual outdoor event.
In past years, the annual lighting event was packed with kids and families, but this year, those festivities were prerecorded and streamed over the internet.
Selected to light the tree this year was 5-year-old Harley. It's an honor that traditionally goes to a child with developmental disabilities.
"They called us last week and let us know it was going to be switched to a virtual event," said Season Goodpasture of the nonprofit Acorns to Oak Trees.
It was originally supposed to take place on Tuesday, the same day as a pro-Palestinian demonstration.
The decision to cancel the public ceremony was made by the governor's office.
"I saw the protest and I just think that would have been really difficult for our daughter who is on the spectrum," Goodpasture said.
The public cancellation also impacted the family's efforts to raise awareness about kids with disabilities in front of a large in-person crowd.
"That part was disappointing, to not have that opportunity," Goodpasture said.
Though the tradition may have been broken, many were still glad to see the state's tree shining bright this holiday season.
"Everyone always likes to come out to see this beautiful tree lit," one civilian said.
This year's tree is a 60-foot-tall red fir from Shasta County. It's adorned with nearly 200 handmade ornaments and 10,000 LED lights.
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