• Westlake Center debuts fake tree for annual lighting event


    SEATTLE - Westlake Center will display a faux tree for its holiday lighting tradition Friday evening.


    The tree-lighting event has been going on for 24 years, and this year, organizers are using a fake tree for the first time.


    KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reporter Jeff Debois spoke with downtown shoppers about the new tree.


    “I don’t know. I don’t like it if it’s the first year. I’d rather see a real tree,” said Dave Gray. “It’s just not the same when you have to take it out of the box, and put it together and put it back away.


    There hasn’t been an official comment from the Westlake Center, which puts on the annual event. But some believe the switch from real to fake was for the environment.


    “It still looks pretty. It’s just as pleasing, and in the holiday spirit,” said shopper Tara Lundie.


    Gene Rosso told KIRO 7 that he has sold real trees to Westlake Center since the tree lighting event started, but he was told in August that an artificial tree was going to be used this year.


    “There’s nothing like a real tree,” said Rosso. “I’m sure it’s economics for them.”


    The new fake tree can be used for several years, but Rosso is frustrated.


    “Theres an awful lot of tree huggers around. They think you cut a tree down, and you’re killing a person. So, they’re going to love it, and the other people who like Christmas trees aren’t going to like it.”


    Rosso believes the artificial tree does not help the economy for the state.


    Rosso’s trees can still be seen throughout downtown Seattle during the holiday season. He told KIRO 7 that his trees are at the Four Season’s Hotel, Pioneer Square and several other office buildings. 

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