Updated: There was a tree lighting at the State House, Thursday, and the governor was just about the only one there. No one showed up for the tree lighting, because no one knew. Governor Chafee sent out word just 29–minutes before the lighting would start.
"Are you ready?," asked Governor Chafee, "Let's light it.."
There was no countdown, no crowd, just the governor clapping for himself and a handful of people in the rotunda.
This year's tree lighting at the State House was a far cry from last year's, when hundreds showed up and dozens protested the name "holiday tree."
"Last year, unfortunately this event of turning this switch turned into what I thought was very disrespectful to some of the performers," said Governor Chafee.
This year, these Park View Middle School performers and their parents are the only one's who had enough notice to take part in the official tree lighting, and that's because they were already scheduled to play.
"We didn't know it was the tree lighting ceremony to tell you the truth," said parent Dean Dinaro.
"I definitely think it's sad," said parent Andrew Ruscio, "It's something that shouldn't be missed by a lot of people and it's unfortunate."
One couple came just moments too late and missed the whole thing.
"If we had known it was going to be lit, we would have probably come," said Mary Thibeault, "It's beautiful. It's absolutely gorgeous."
And for those of you who had to work or just didn't know it was happening, the governor has a message for you.
"There's so much going on here. The tree should be lit, and the lights have been strung. Let's light it," he said.
Typically the tree lighting is held in the evening and is announced days in advance. The governor had initially canceled the lighting, but changed his mind after public outcry.