Tree lighting Tuesday

Kick off the Holiday Season at Worthington Park

By John Rech

The centerpiece has arrived. Last week, West Memphis utility workers unloaded a 42-foot-tall balsam fir tree from northern Wisconsin and had it set up in just a couple of hours. The tree will be decorated with 10-inch ornamental balls and topped with a 4-foot-tall star before the tree lighting ceremony Tuesday evening at 6:00 p.m. in Worthington Park. According to the tree farm, the tree is one of the biggest trees they will handle this Christmas season. The West Memphis tree stands taller than those delivered to state capitals in Wisconsin and Colorado, making the fir tree a perfect choice to anchor the city light display in the park. It shows a full and perfect shape all the way around. The balsam variety is known for hanging onto its needles and smelling real good. Randy Hill of Festive Designs has been doing the Christmas lights for the city since 1987. His company does a lot of the big time displays for corporations and municipalities between Little Rock and Nashville. He asked for the tree to arrive two weeks before the lighting ceremony so there would be some good weather conditions and time to decorate the West Memphis tree just right. He said people can expect some new lighting displays too. Motion displays have Santa throwing a football, and shooting some hoops, while angels fly over a third light arrangement with a ‘Keep Christ in Christmas’ message. “We used to set up at the civic center, but the lights have been here in the park for quite a few years now. The city purchased three new LED displays,” said Hill. “They are set up for motion and will attract a lot of attention from the kids as they stroll through the park at night with their parents.” West Memphis Tourism Director Jim Jackson was on hand for the tree delivery and provided an overview of tree lighting night. “We’ll kick off the event with children singing Christmas carols. One child will throw the switch to light the tree just before Santa arrives at 6:30. The Boys and Girls Club will have a concession stand and sell refreshments. Children can visit Santa to have their photo made. We are staying with the traditional time and date the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. Jackson reminded city residents that after Thanksgiving, the holiday fun continues with the city Christmas parade on Tuesday Dec. 1. The there’s a 60’s theme this year for the parade, “Peace, Love & Christmas.”


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