Tree lighting: A Fallon tradition since the 1920s
A long-standing tradition that brings the community together is what the Christmas Tree Lighting represents.
A tradition that dates to 1929 continues tonight at 6 p.m. despite the freezing temperatures. Hundreds of residents will crowd Maine Street to watch the 50-foot white fir Christmas tree light up.
“It’s one of the best traditions our city has. It starts the holiday season off right and gets the community involved,” Mayor Ken Tedford Jr. said.
Tedford said 800-1,000 residents typically attend the event. Residents are proud and seem to really enjoy the tree lighting no matter how cold it is outside. He said Christmastime is a great time of year, it brings the community together and it brings out the caring side of residents.
The lighting of the tree is the highlighted event with a full slate of other activities planned for the evening.
The forecast is calling for temperatures in the 50s during the day but will drop to the 30s at night.
Event organizer Judy Pratt said residents who are participating need to make sure they dress appropriately for the weather.
“With temperatures dropping low in the evening, we encourage residents to bundle up to make sure they stay warm during the event,” said Pratt. “Hot chocolate will be provided but that only does so much to keep you warm.”
The 50-foot white fir tree was obtained from Milt Holstrom near Sierraville, Calif., which has been providing Fallon with a tree for more than 30 years. The tree is fitted with almost 10,000 lights and it takes approximately a week to set everything up and get the tree show ready.
Valerie Lightfoot, the city’s administrative assistant, said the lighting is such an important day for the community that pulls all residents together and it helps bring out the Christmas spirit.
This year the pioneer guest who will have the honor to “push the plunger” is Elizabeth Woodliff. Pratt said when selecting the pioneer to “push the plunger,” much thought goes into it.
“I look at long-time residents who have been active in and contributed to our community,” Pratt said. “Elizabeth fit that bill. She has been a long time resident of Fallon and turned 100 years old in August. She was born in 1914. Elizabeth more than likely won’t be present to ‘push the plunger’ but several of her family members will be there in her honor to press it for her,” Pratt said.
Among the tree lighting, the high school choir will be performing under the direction of Tom Fleming, the Masons will provide free hot chocolate and cookies and for the little ones, Santa makes a visit and will be ready to take pictures and pass out candy canes.
“Everything during the event will be free, parents can bring there own camera to take pictures with Santa,” Pratt said. “The lighting represents a time of giving and community members coming together to celebrate with one another.”
Tickets go on sale this morning at 8 a.m. for David John and the Comstock Cowboys.
The popular band will play at the Art Center’s Barkley Theater on Dec. 14 at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.
This is their annual Christmas in the Sierra show.
Tickets are $5 and benefit the Fallon Benevolence Fund. Tickets may be purchased at City Hall but will not be available at the door.
Open House at City Hall and The Douglass House will be tonight from 4-5:45 p.m. Mayor Ken Tedford Jr. and Fallon City Council members Bob Erickson, Kelly Frost and James Richardson will be present for a meet and greet and are willing to answer any questions that residents have. Residents are invited to tour City Hall and The Douglass house and refreshments will be provided.
Holiday Art Bar and Open House hosted by the Churchill Arts Council is tonight at Oats Park Arts Center from 5-9 p.m. Several exhibits will be on display including two new shows will be open to view, so stop by to check out the new shows and have a cup of holiday cheer.
The Sagebrush Sisters annual Holiday Art Show and Sale offers residents the opportunity to peruse local art and other handmade items perfect for holiday gifts. There will be many unique gifts, homemade goodies and live entertainment. Today the event is open from 3-8 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at Fallon’s historic Old Post Office.
Churchill County Middle School will hold its annual Christmas Craft Fair today and Saturday, today from 6-9 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Admission is $1 for adults and children under 6 are free.
Lights of Christmas will be held Saturday at the Churchill County Museum beginning at noon with the auction stating at 6 p.m.
About 50 fully decorated live Christmas trees will be auctioned off to raise money to support Toys for Tots and other local charities.
Participants are asked to bring two can goods or $1 for admissions. The can goods will be delivered to local food pantries.
Picture opportunities will be provided with Santa and the Grinch. Parents are able to take the photo themselves or have it taken by a photographer for a price.
The Lahontan Valley Choir will be performing and attendees are able to participate in the People’s Choice for the best looking tree.
The United Methodist Women Christmas bazaar and treasures is Saturday from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. The one-day event will be held at the United Methodist Church.