How a local Sarasota Grinch didn’t steal Christmas

A Christmas tree lighting in downtown Sarasota.
A Christmas tree lighting in downtown Sarasota.(wwsb)
Published: Dec. 2, 2021 at 8:24 PM EST
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - The annual Christmas tree lighting in Downtown Sarasota almost didn’t happen because of vandalism.

Someone cut the wires for the lights all through the 46-foot-tall tree that’s risen in the heart of downtown Sarasota.

“It’s very heartbreaking to think that someone would come in and do this damage to it,” said Ron Soto of the Sarasota Downtown Merchants Association, who organized the event.

The work of some local Grinches was discovered just a day before the annual tree-lighting event. It’s unknown who or why they cut the lights.

Soto says they needed to rewire the tree to save Christmas. “We’ll get them all spliced, put back together. Let’s see, we only have another 200 to go,” Soto said around noon Thursday.

Soto says when he saw the cut wires all over the ground on Wednesday, he felt a little defeated.

“Broke down in tears ... it’s a lot of work that we do to make this happen. And to find out that about 40 of these had been cut,” said Soto.

He posted to social media on Wednesday canceling the event. That’s until he got a call.

“Sean from Tucker Enterprises calls up and said he would be willing to come down and donate his time to fix this tree,” said Soto.

Unbelievable Sean from Tucker enterprises saw the post on Facebook came down and volunteered his time to fix the tree...

Posted by Ron Soto on Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Electrician Sean Griffin climbed to the top of the tree to get started and make the lighting happen.

“There was a series of other connections on the tree and we got that sorted out,” said Griffin.

Sorted out after working on the 10,000-light Christmas tree for hours trying to fix the damage.

“I like to help people out you know and people like to help me out you know? So you just pay it forward,” said Griffin.

A story that could’ve had a sour ending, but didn’t.

“We’re not going to let the Grinch ruin Christmas!” he said.

Tonight the Christmas tree in downtown Sarasota was lit up. But the story of how it was able to happen just makes it all...

Posted by Daniela Hurtado on Thursday, December 2, 2021

The tree-lighting went on, as scheduled, delighting dozens of Sarasota neighbors Thursday night.

The downtown Sarasota Christmas tree is lit. Take a look with Daniela Hurtado 🎄

Posted by ABC7 Sarasota - WWSB on Thursday, December 2, 2021

As for the vandal or vandals, a police report made of the incident by the Sarasota Police Department shows there are no suspects at this time.

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