Pickle Tree Lighting Features Choirs, Santa

Westmont’s 17th annual Pickle Tree Lighting, a unique tradition that attracts hundreds of alumni and members of the college community, is Tuesday, Nov. 27, at 5 p.m. on Kerrwood Lawn. The event is free and open to the public.

The Cold Spring’s School Choir will kick off the evening with some Christmas carols from 4:40-5 p.m., followed by Westmont’s Ahh Men and Women of Westmont. Santa Claus will pose for pictures inside Kerrwood Hall. Hot apple cider and cookies will also be offered.

Following the holiday music and the Pickle Address, a mystery tree lighter will throw down the massive switch that lights the slender 150-foot redwood tree, affectionately known as the Pickle Tree.

Steve Julio ’92, Westmont alumnus and professor of biology, will deliver the Pickle Address. Julio earned his doctorate at UC Santa Barbara, where he studied bacterial pathogenesis. He spent two years as a research scientist at a start-up focused on developing cancer vaccines. He returned to UCSB in 2003 to study Bordetella, which causes whooping cough. He returned to Westmont in 2006 and continues his work on Bordetella pathogenesis using a combination of genetics, biochemistry and animal models of disease. He researches the bacteria’s ability to colonize respiratory tracts and modulate host immunity and explores why some Bordetella strains infect a variety of mammals but others target only humans. He and his wife, Cheryl, have four daughters.