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Christmas in October?

Lake City’s giant tree goes up this week

Lake City Public Works Director Eddie Robinson installs a panel Tuesday near the top of the city’s 55-foot tall Christmas tree. The tree was installed this week as part of preparations for the city’s upcoming Christmas celebration, which will be held next month.

Lake City Public Works Director Eddie Robinson installs a panel Tuesday near the top of the city’s 55-foot tall Christmas tree. The tree was installed this week as part of preparations for the city’s upcoming Christmas celebration, which will be held next month.

— Christmas is coming early to the residents of Lake City.

So early, in fact, they’ll be thinking about decking the halls with boughs of holly before they give out their first piece of Halloween candy.

That’s because Lake City’s public works department has been working furiously this week to put up the city’s 55-foot Christmas Tree on the lawn of city hall.

photo

Curt Yeomans

Lake City Public Works Director Eddie Robinson waits in bucket truck as a panel for the city's Christmas tree is hoisted up to him. The city is installing the tree as part of the preparations for its annual Christmas celebration, which will be held next month.

Lake City Public Works Department employees spent part of the last week in a bucket truck carefully installing one panel of the tree at a time. Each panel has bows and Christmas lights already installed. Additional public works employees were on the ground, using a rope to hoist each panel up to the person in the bucket.

“People always ask, ‘Why do you get it up so early? It’s not even Halloween yet,’ ” said Public Works maintenance worker Andy Aster. “We have to get all of this up early so we can make sure everything is working before the city’s Christmas celebration.”

The installation of the tree is the first stage of preparation for Lake City’s Christmas celebration, which will take place Nov. 17, at 6 p.m., on the city hall lawn. The annual event includes singing by Aster and the Lake City Elementary School choir, hot chocolate and cookies and the formal lighting of the city’s Christmas display.

In the coming weeks, passers-by on Ga. 54 can expect to see leaping reindeer and a giant “Merry Christmas” sign to go up as well. Tiny displays featuring elves, Santa Claus and a dancing Rudolph will then be installed before the celebration.

Public Works Director Eddie Robinson said the city prides itself on having the tree, which it got 11 years ago from a company that previously had them on display at Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta. It has approximately 5,100 multi-colored lights intermingled with the tree “branches” and large yellow bows.

“So far, it’s the tallest Christmas tree on the southside,” said Robinson. “No one else comes close.”