State Rep. Doreen Costa said many people are "not happy" about Chafee giving only 30 minutes notice before Thursday's tree lighting and holding the event early in the day instead of the evening when more people would be able to attend, Tribune Newspapers reported Monday.
"People weren't able to go, but it's OK," she said. "We'll have an actual Christmas party."
Chafee, an independent, said at the ceremony he was trying to avoid some of the unpleasantness that surrounded last year's event when protesters interrupted the lighting to demonstrate against Chafee dubbing the shrub a "holiday tree" instead of a Christmas tree.
"Last year, unfortunately, this event turned into a very disrespectful gathering," Chafee said. "So let's light the tree, go and greet the performers and have a very merry holiday season."