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GIBSON CITY — This year’s downtown Gibson City Christmas tree is too big to miss. Literally.
On Friday, a group of seven friends did their annual good deed of erecting the tree that stands on Sangamon Avenue, just south of City Hall.
That night, however, a motorist ran into it. Too big to miss.
The culprit reportedly was ticketed. Details were not available from Gibson City police.
“It did a little damage,” said Kyle Bielfeldt, a member of the volunteer tree crew. “We were able to get it back upright. It broke two straps, and we had to restrap it and get it straight.”
Bielfeldt, principal at Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley High School, said the tree is so large (he estimated 45 feet) that it had to be erected on a Friday this year.
“Usually it’s done on a Sunday,” he said. “We couldn’t handle it ourselves, so we had to hire a tree-cutting service and a crane service” from Fisher.
Others in the volunteer crew were Jeff Grider, Kyle Berry, Jeremy Jester, Nick Elder, Nick Roesch and Keith Friday.
Just stringing the lights — 150 strands of them — is a major job.
“Our roles are pretty similar,” Bielfeldt said. “I go up in the lift, and two other guys go up in the bucket, and whoever else starts at the bottom. We work our way down, and they work their way up.”
The trees are donated.
One year, the tree was taken from the course at Railside Golf Club. Another, some residents donated a tree out of their yard.
“We just drive around and see if there are any good-looking pine trees and ask if they would be willing to let us take them down,” Bielfeldt said.
On occasion, the chamber of commerce will provide a tree to the donor to replace the donated one. The city takes the tree down.
The tree won’t be the only thing lit this weekend. The town’s annual lighted Christmas parade steps off at 6:30 p.m. Saturday downtown.
This year’s theme is “Gibson’s Angels in Disguise.”
The parade is part of a daylong list of activities that includes retailers, a clothing drive, wagon rides, face painting, children’s activities, food vendors and visits with Santa after the parade.