Reedley overcomes setbacks to put up Christmas tree

REEDLEY, Calif. (KFSN) -- It stands at approximately 40 feet tall in the heart of Downtown at 11th and G Street. Reedley's Christmas tree is getting prepped for its big makeover.

This involves reattaching branches and reinforcing others. Lights, ornaments, garland and other decorations will make it shine. It all comes together this Saturday when the tree is lit for the first time. It's one of the towns most beloved holiday traditions.

"You think of Disneyland and seeing the big tree they have down there and the fact that we have a real tree is amazing," Erik Valencia, Executive Director for the Greater Reedley Chamber of Commerce.

This year it almost didn't happen. Valencia said they were told last minute their tree couldn't be harvested.

"They called me up at about 9 o'clock yesterday when they were going to cut the tree down," said Valencia. "They said the tree we selected was too close to the power lines."

Valencia said they didn't think they would have a tree this year. Then their prayers were answered at Camp Edison in Shaver Lake. They found a replacement.

"The forestry department, they were out there and they selected a tree and we are going to have one and we make the best of it and that is what it is all about," he said.

The rest was a community effort. The Reedley College Forestry department cut it down, another group loaded it, It was delivered by a trucking business, a craning company unloaded the tree and then finally, the city put it up. Valencia says about 100 people were involved in the process.

"No matter what the tree looks like if it is short, skinny, thin, it is all about the spirit and the message behind this tree which is about community," he said.

There was another setback. As they put on lights the top of the tree snapped off, but their tree is resilient. The fire department stepped in and braced it back together. The city will light the tree this Saturday at 5:30 at night.
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