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I-81 construction changes path of tree to Clinton Square

Update:

Construction on I-81 is changing the path the big Norway Spruce will take to get to downtown Syracuse today.

The tree will now travel from Loretto up I-81 North to Adams Street, then take Almond to Erie Boulevard, a right on Oswego Boulevard and a left on James Street. From there, the tree will then head to its final resting place on Salina Street in Clinton Square.

Earlier:

The holiday spirit will be in the air in downtown Syracuse this morning. The Norway Spruce, which will be the main attraction of Syracuse's "Home for the Holidays" celebration, will be brought into Clinton Square around noon.

The 75-foot Norway Spruce was donated by Loretto. Crews will start working at 8 a.m. to transport the tree from the main campus of Loretto on East Brighton Ave. to Clinton Square. Loretto donated the tree, which has likely been on its campus for more than 80 years.

"We're honored to share our heritage of caring for older adults with such a wonderful holiday tradition for the community," said Michael Connor, a spokesperson for Loretto.

Crews will begin cutting the tree at approximately 9:30 a.m. and it will arrive in Clinton Square between noon and 1 p.m.

The tree will be transported on Interstate 81 North, exiting at Court Street. It will then travel Interstate 81 South and continue onto Salina Street.

The "Home for the Holidays" celebration will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Friday Nov. 26 in Clinton Square. It will end with the annual tree lighting ceremony. The event will include local talent, local children lighting the tree and will focus on giving back to the Syracuse community.

The following local musical acts will perform classic holiday favorites:

Tucker Missionary Baptist Church Gospel Choir

Northside resident Joey Nigro-Nilsen, with the musical accompaniment of John Nilsen

The Syracuse Chapter of Gospel Music Workshop of America

Frazer School "Golden Voices" - 4th, 5th and 6th graders

Mayor Stephanie Miner has partnered with the Food Bank of Central New York and is asking that people attending the event bring non-perishable food items and deposit them in Food Bank of Central New York bins set up in Clinton Square.

This year, three Syracuse children will join Mayor Miner to light the tree when the musical performances conclude. Children interested in lighting the tree can write a letter to Mayor Miner entitled "What the Holidays Mean to Me." The Mayor will select three winners to join her to light the tree.

All entries should include the child's name, grade, home phone number, the name of the student's school and the name of the child's parent or guardian. Children can send letters to Mayor Miner at City Hall: Office of the Mayor, 233 East Washington Street, Syracuse, NY 13202. Letters can also be sent to the Mayor via e-mail at Mayor@ci.syracuse.ny.us. The winning entries will be posted on the City's web site and displayed in the City Hall Lobby. Entries must be received by Nov. 19, 2010 at 5 p.m.

Immediately following the tree lighting, there will be an open house at City Hall, 233 East Washington Street, from 7:15 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. Mayor Miner, Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler, Syracuse Fire Chief Mark McLees and Santa will greet families and Mayor Miner will be available for photographs. Holiday refreshments will be served and the Stan Colella All-Star band will provide entertainment in the City Hall Lobby.

There will be free parking at the Washington Street Parking Garage (located at West Washington Street and the West Street Arterial) and at the Fayette Street Garage (located at the corner of East Fayette Street and Montgomery Street) beginning at 5:30 p.m. The garages will remain open until 11 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 26.

Parking for people with disabilities will be available at metered spots on Erie Boulevard East, between Salina and Warren Street, as well as at any other designated meters.

The Clinton Square Ice Rink will be open for free skating from noon until 9 p.m. on Nov. 26. Standard skate rentals ($3.00 per pair) will apply.

Mayor Miner has declared the following "parking meter holidays" within the City of Syracuse's Central Business District. A map of this area is attached. Metered parking spaces will be free on:

- Friday and Saturday November 26 and 27, 2010- Friday and Saturday December 3 and 4, 2010- Friday and Saturday December 10 and 11, 2010- Friday and Saturday December 17 and 18, 2010- Friday and Saturday December 24 and 25, 2010

Prior to "Home for the Holidays," the Spirit of Syracuse and the Chittenango High School Choir will perform in the grand lobby of the Landmark Theatre, located at 362 S. Salina St. The program, presented by the Downtown Committee, is free.

From 7 p.m. until 9 p.m., the Landmark Theatre will host a "Bad Sweater Party."

Hanover Square, across from Clinton Square, will host its annual Yule Log Lighting following the tree lighting, with holiday music by the Chittenango High School Choir.

The annual Art Mart in the City Hall Commons Atrium, located at 201 E. Washington St., at the corner of Washington and Warren Streets, will have extended hours on Nov. 26, remaining open until 9 p.m. The Art Mart features original crafts and fine art.

On Saturdays throughout the holiday season - Nov. 27, Dec. 4, Dec. 11 and Dec. 18 - the Armory Square Association will offer historic horse-drawn trolley rides, with a narrator on board in the guise of Abraham Walton, the first entrepreneur of Armory Square. The rides will run from noon until 3 p.m. each Saturday and will board at the corner of Franklin and Walton Streets.

The Jefferson Clinton Hotel, at Clinton and Jefferson Streets in Armory Square, will host afternoon teas and entertainment on Saturdays during the holidays from noon to 5 p.m., and there will be street entertainment throughout the Square.

These Armory Square events are free and open to the public.

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