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Fir Sure
by Tribune Staff
Nov 28, 2011 | 1182 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune/Dan McGee
As Mike Kelly (foreground) from the City of Sparks watches, the Sparks Christmas Tree is hoisted off of Terry Freeman's truck by a Young Electric Sign Company crane. It would then be lowered where one of the red spansets was removed then lifted vertically and set into place.
Tribune/Dan McGee As Mike Kelly (foreground) from the City of Sparks watches, the Sparks Christmas Tree is hoisted off of Terry Freeman's truck by a Young Electric Sign Company crane. It would then be lowered where one of the red spansets was removed then lifted vertically and set into place.
slideshow
Tribune/Dan McGee
Dave Stein (left) , whose son cut the Sparks Christmas tree, was the original driver that brought the tree here but for the past several years Terry Freeman (right) has used one of his trucks to make the delivery.
Tribune/Dan McGee Dave Stein (left) , whose son cut the Sparks Christmas tree, was the original driver that brought the tree here but for the past several years Terry Freeman (right) has used one of his trucks to make the delivery.
slideshow
Tribune/Dan McGee
It takes a fair amount of muscle power to set the Sparks Christmas Tree into place. Here a trio of city workers is busy getting it into position before they will rotate it into the proper place.
Tribune/Dan McGee It takes a fair amount of muscle power to set the Sparks Christmas Tree into place. Here a trio of city workers is busy getting it into position before they will rotate it into the proper place.
slideshow
SPARKS — The final touch on the holiday spirit in Victorian Square fell into place Monday morning as the annual Christmas tree from Oregon arrived and was placed in its customary spot near the Saint Mary’s Ampitheater at the intersection with 10th Street.

“This is a really nice one,” said city arborist Mike Kelley, who has worked for Sparks for the last 24 Christmases. Kelley has been around for all but one of the 25 Sparks Hometowne Christmas events, so when he judges this year’s Douglas Fir against the others, he knows what he’s talking about.

“These guys make sure we get a nice one,” Kelley added.

The tree is a yearly gift from Sparks’ sister city of Garibaldi, Ore. The tradition began in 1982 when Sparks local Norm Nielsen lamented to a friend from Garibaldi that he missed living where Christmas trees grew. The friend, Patricia Bash, said she would cut one down and bring it to Nielsen in Sparks.

The gift eventually started a city-wide excursion from Garibaldi to Sparks, where Oregon locals would hop the “Christmas tree express” and join Sparks for the holidays. Citizens of Garibaldi would often travel to Sparks for the Hometowne Christmas Parade and, in return, the city of Sparks sends a delegation to Garibaldi every summer for the town’s July Garibaldi Days parade.

Today, the tree is delivered on a large flatbed truck in the early morning of the Monday after Thanksgiving. Logger Dave Stein has been choosing and cutting the tree for more than 30 years.

“We got this tree where we were getting trees 30 years ago,” Stein said about the tree delivered to Sparks on Monday. “This one’s grown up since, so we’re on the second rotation now.”

Stein said that when he looks for a tree to bring to Sparks, he looks for the best one that he can get to. Once the tree is selected, it is carefully cut down by a team of people and placed on a truck driven by Terry Freeman to be hauled the 575 miles from Oregon’s central coast to Nevada’s high desert. Last year’s trip was met with a lot of snow, Freeman said, but this year was smooth sailing.

This week the 58-foot tree will be decorated with LED lights and ornaments for Friday’s lighting ceremony at 6:30 p.m.
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Fir Sure by Tribune Staff


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