This Wednesday, Nov. 28, will mark the 79th annual Christmas tree lighting at Rockefeller Center in New York City. It will also mark the seventh year in a row that Fairfield’s Inter-Residential Housing Association (IRHA) will host their trip for students to attend the lighting.

“The IRHA has been doing this specific trip for at least seven years now,” said IRHA’s Director of Programming, Brendhan Kolf ’14. “Since the beginning of this school year, the IRHA has been working on this trip, whether it be deciding how many buses we want, getting them, ticket sales, the departure time, etc.,” he continued.

Kolf went on to explain that the reason the IRHA continues to bring back the program every year is because of how well it is received by the student body. “It is a fantastic stress reliever to go into the city and be part of a tradition. It allows the student body to forget about the stress of finals, papers and projects, even if it is just for a couple of hours,” he stated.

The tree itself is usually a Norway spruce and stands somewhere between 69 to 100 feet tall. The tallest tree ever to be put up in Rockefeller Center was in 1999. The tree came from Killingworth, CT and stood at 100 feet tall.

This year the Rockefeller Center tree, which hails from Mt. Olive, New Jersey stands at 80 feet tall and the event promises to be just as fun and entertaining as the previous years.

NBC will broadcast the event, as they do every year. Hosted by Al Roker and Savannah Guthrie, the broadcast will include performances from Mariah Carey, Rod Stewart and CeeLo Green, to name a few.

“This trip is extremely popular”, said Kolf. He also explained that because the trip is so popular the IRHA decided to add another bus this year to accommodate the large amount of students going.

“Even though we doubled the number of tickets this year, they sold in record time on the very first day of sales,” he said.

Student interest seems to add up. “I didn’t know about the Christmas tree lighting trip until someone put up one of those IRHA papers with riddles on the bathroom stall. I’m not positive if I’ll go but I’d be interested in going,” said Devon Hogan ’16.

Joe Flanagan ’16 said, “I’ve heard about the tree lighting trip and I’m definitely going.”

Some students, though, explained that having the trip on a school night creates conflict with their classes. “It’s a fun activity and it’s nice that the school offers it for such a low price but it’s difficult to go because it’s on a Wednesday and everyone has homework,” said Carolyn Mannix ’14.

Kolf ended on a positive note. “My hopes for this year’s trip, as it is my first year as the Director of Programming for the IRHA, are that it is as successful as it has been in the last couple of years, and if ticket sales are any hint as to how it will go, I know my hopes will be fulfilled.”

Buses will depart from Alumni Hall on Wednesday at 5 p.m.

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