Baldwin community gathers at annual holiday tree lighting


Over 100 neighbors came out in the rain to watch Katie Blazdell put on a spectacle with her annual Christmas tree lighting.

For the past decade, Blazdell would decorate her pine tree in front of her home at the corner of Harte Street and Irving Place for Christmas. The tree has been growing since Blazdell’s parents moved into the home in 1971 where it was about the same size of the house. Now, that tree has grown to be 85 feet tall, which is about five feet taller than the tree that is currently at Rockerfeller Center. The tradition of decorating this tree was started by Blazdell’s mother Joan Giles, who died two years ago from heart disease.

“Over a decade ago, my mom decided to light the tree,” Blazdell said. “And the reason she did that was in honor of my dad, who passed away in 1993 because he always used to look at the tree and go ‘I wish I could make that a giant Christmas tree’.”

Blazdell explained that finding a company to decorate the tall tree was difficult. When she first started this tradition, the tree was about 60 feet. Fortunately, she found Pacific Lawn Sprinklers, who was able to put up all of the lights.

“When they (Pacific Lawn Sprinklers) first started, they would come with a 60 foot cherry picker and there would be a guy at the top of the ladder trying to reach the top, but they couldn’t quite reach it,” Blazdell said.

Eventually, the company was able to bring an 80-foot cherry picker. This meant that a star can be placed on top of the tree. Blazdell said that this made her mom “the happiest person ever” because she always wanted a star to be placed on the tree.

“I like fostering a sense of community,” Blazdell said about hosting a tree lighting every year where community members gather and watch. “And I like making sure that we have a good community and events like this help promote that.”