Events PHOTO — With West Haven’s Christmas tree aglow in the background, The John C. Ireland Bandstand on the snow-covered Green is bedecked with huge electric snowflakes as Victorian lampposts decorated with angels blowing on trumpets illuminate the walkways during a Yuletide celebration from yesteryear. (Contributed Photo)Christmas tree lighting on Green set for Saturday, Nov. 25WEST HAVEN, Nov. 21, 2023 — The annual lighting of West Haven’s Christmas tree on the Green will herald an evening of merriment Saturday, Nov. 25.The holiday festival will commence at 4 p.m. with the national anthem sung by a West Haven High School student.DJ Dan will play holiday-themed music while costumed Christmas characters and Victorian-clad carolers entertain families around the downtown park.WOW Radio personality Brian Smith will serve as the master of ceremonies for the event, which is presented by the city, ArtsWestCT, the First Congregational Church and West Haven United, an organization aimed at bringing the city’s volunteer groups together.The sponsors are Affordable Waste Systems LLC, All Purpose Contractors LLC, Baybrook Remodelers Inc., Cordone & Son, EarthLoop LLC, Frankson Fence Co., Herrington & Sons Tree Specialists LLC and Winkle Bus Co.The four-hour festival will feature an inflatable Santa’s village and craft stations on the 5-acre Green, where children can decorate wooden ornaments, write letters to Santa, and make cards for U.S. troops overseas and those at the West Haven VA Medical Center.The Yuletide festivities will continue with performances by Top Hat Dance Academy at 4:05 p.m., the West Haven High dance team at 4:30 p.m. and the Mulkerin School of Irish Dance at 5 p.m.A half-hour later, West Haven’s own Judy Pancoast, a Grammy-nominated recording artist, will sing holiday classics, including her popular original song, “The House on Christmas Street.”At 6 p.m., Mayor Nancy R. Rossi will greet revelers from a portable stage on the Main Street side of the Green. The West Haven High cheerleading team will then escort Santa and Mrs. Claus to the stage, where they will join Rossi and her special guests, members of West Haven Vietnam Veterans Inc., to set the tree aglow.Santa and Mrs. Claus will arrive in the West Haven Fire Department’s 1935 Mack pump firetruck.Rossi said the lighting will mark the “50th Anniversary of Freedom.”In 1973, President Richard Nixon held a White House reception for U.S. prisoners of war from Vietnam. On May 24, the Nixon Presidential Library in Yorba Linda, California, observed the homecoming’s golden anniversary — 50 years to the day of the then-president hosting the largest dinner in White House history in honor of the 591 POWs released by the North Vietnamese.To mark the anniversary locally, the city and West Haven Vietnam Veterans are sponsoring a City Hall poster series, “A Learning Experience,” to recognize the unwavering courage and selfless sacrifice of the approximately 766 American service members held captive during the Vietnam War, said Dave Ricci, the veterans group’s president.The 19-month series, which began in September in City Hall’s first-floor entryway, will also chronicle nearly every aspect of the war, said Kevin Sullivan, a member of West Haven Vietnam Veterans.The city’s official Christmas tree is flanked by a smaller evergreen tree that will glow with fluorescent-colored lights.The trees are being decorated by West Haven Boy Scout Troop 821, the first all-girl Boy Scouts of America troop established in the United States. The troop’s charter sponsor is the City of West Haven Fire Department Allingtown.Garland adorned with white lights will decorate The John C. Ireland Bandstand, and Victorian lampposts bedecked with angels blowing on trumpets will illuminate the walkways.The decorated park will include inflatable attractions that youngsters can go in and have pictures taken.Before returning to the North Pole, Santa and Mrs. Claus will meet children and pose for snapshots until 8 p.m.Just steps from Santa’s workshop, boys and girls can drop off wish lists at St. Nick’s official U.S. Postal Service mailbox. West Haven United will stamp children’s holiday “passports” and award prizes.Along with hayrides, kids can ride in a vintage West Shore firetruck provided by Baybrook Remodelers.The activities are free, but people are asked to bring nonperishable items for the West Haven Emergency Assistance Task Force, which provides food for residents in need.Volunteers from First Church will sell food, and volunteers from West Haven United will sell hot chocolate and popcorn.If it rains, the lighting will go on at 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 27.