COSTA MESA ( — It’s not even Halloween yet, but visitors to one of Orange County’s biggest malls got their first glimpse of Christmas on Monday.

KNX 1070’s Ron Kilgore reports with more 10 weeks to go until the holidays, South Coast Plaza celebrated the first Christmas tree of the year to arrive at a Southern California shopping center.

The live 96-foot white fir Christmas tree arrived after making the 650-mile journey from the Mt. Shasta area of Northern California.

Officials used a 200-ton crane to hoist the tree into position at Town Center Park, where the 31st annual tree lighting ceremony is set to take place next month.

That event is expected to draw crowds of anywhere from 1,500 to 4,000 revelers, according to South Coast Property Management Director Stan Tager.

“For us, it’s that time of year where everybody’s just a little more tolerant, a little bit happier, and we just can’t wait to get people feeling that way,” Tager said.

The tree comes courtesy of the Segerstrom family, which owns the South Coast Plaza.

“This is about the Segerstrom family and their gift back to Orange County for being such wonderful people to them,” said Tager.

Crews will use the early arrival to dorn the tree with 20,000 colored lights over the next three weeks.


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