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More than 10,000 Witness Grandeur of Fashion Island’s Christmas Tree Lighting

Thousands of families – some wearing designer sweaters, most armed with digital cameras – celebrated the beginning of the holiday season last weekend during the lighting of Fashion Island’s 115-foot Christmas tree.

More than 10,000 people attended the Friday and Saturday night events. Widely considered the most popular Orange County holiday tradition, the 2008 tree-lighting event included a special appearance by Olympic medalist Cathy Rigby, who starred in “The Magical Spirit of Christmas.”

The musical production featured a cast of more than 60 talented students from the California Conservatory of the Arts in San Juan Capistrano. The performance told the story of a magical journey Mrs. Claus, played by Rigby, must make in order to save Christmas.

At the end of the show, Mr. and Mrs. Claus flew in a whimsical hot air balloon to light Fashion Island’s stunning 115 ft. white fir, adorned with 23,000 lights, bows and ornaments.

The traditions continue this week at Fashion Island as the center prepares for hundreds of thousands of shoppers the day after Thanksgiving, known as the biggest shopping day of the year. For a list of the special offers being provided by Fashion Island retailers and restaurants on Friday, November 28 and throughout the holidays, visit Fashion Island’s Web site.