Fallon’s Christmas tree glows Friday night
December 2, 2016
Fallon's annual Christmas Tree Lighting since 1929 illuminates downtown at 6 p.m. Friday on Maine Street, followed by a fireworks and snow display.
"Come bundled up and come ready to have a good time," said organizer Judy Pratt, adding the focus is on giving and enjoying. "The city does an excellent job." (The temperature is predicted to be between 25-30 degrees F.)
Keeping with tradition, the tree comes from Sierraville, Calif., and is provided by Milt Holstrom, who has been supplying Fallon with its cherished downtown trees for more than 30 years. The 50-foot white fir tree is draped in a garland and 10,000 lights to carry passersby through the holiday season. It typically takes several days to complete the setup.
"It's gonna be a fun, exciting night and nothing can be missed!" exclaimed City Clerk Gary Cordes. "Time will fly, and people will say, 'Where did the time go?!'" he added with an amiable laugh.
This year's illuminator is Fallon born-and-raised resident Bill Lawry, who served as both sheriff and fire chief. Lawry began his longtime community volunteer work at age 21 with the fire department and was later fire chief for 12 years. Before being elected county sheriff, he served as undersheriff for the Churchill County Sheriff's Office at age 27.
"He has been great as a contributor," Pratt said. "He's someone who has volunteered and given quite a bit of his time — and has given well to his community."
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She added he's helped with emergency events and assisted the county in numerous ways.
Mayor Ken Tedford, who will be joining Lawry in leading the good tidings, has said he enjoys the yearly event and likes to see the children's faces as they wait to meet Santa.
Santa is scheduled to appear after the tree is lit, followed by photo opportunities. There will also be holiday music and caroling including performances prior to the lighting by the Churchill County High School choir directed by Tom Fleming and the Lahontan Valley Concert Choir.
The Churchill County Middle School student council is again donating free candy canes, and the Fallon Freemasons are providing hot chocolate as they've done for 19 years, said Pratt.
"They've been faithful as faithful can be," she said of the Freemasons. She added that along the sidewalks, church groups offer cookies to attendees.
Toys for Tots will be at the lighting so residents can also bring any toy items they want to donate. New, unwrapped toys are preferred, but the organization can find a use for most donations including clothing.
"All toys stay local and all money raised," said Chris Hansberry, coordinator of the local Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots detachment, mentioning tany funds go to the city's youth club. "It's the island of misfit toys, but we'll make sure they find a good home."
He said some of the toys can help other rural communities in Churchill and Lyon counties including Silver Springs, Yerington and Stagecoach. The group is assisted by the Depot Casino & Restaurant and Mills Jersey Farm, which is donating a 7-ton military truck for toy collection and delivery.
The truck will be decorated with Christmas garlands, wreaths and giant ornaments, he said. It's also doing a toy drive at Walmart today from about 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
"I've never been to a better Christmas tree lighting," said Jane Moon, executive director of Tourism & Special Events for the Fallon Convention & Tourism Authority. "And I'm not just saying that because I'm the director of tourism; it is beautiful to be part of that production team."