Our little city hosts several fun family events throughout the year – Sunday in the Park, the 4th of July Parade…
The annual Christmas Tree Bonfire.
At nightfall, families gather at the park to watch the city’s hottest firefighters set our dead trees ablaze.
And I literally mean hottest firefighters. This blaze gets so hot, you might as well wear your bathing suit under your parka.
(I imagine the guys that work the “bonfire” shift drew the short end of the match.)
People bring lawn chairs, coolers, golf carts, picnic baskets, etc., and set up camp near the caution-taped pit.
Note: This is one event I would not suggest being front and center for, unless you want your eyebrows singed off.
For more then 50 minutes, tree after tree goes up in flames.
The children squeal in delight as the fire gets taller and taller.
The adults stare in horror as they realize the tree that just exploded had been sitting in their living room wrapped in electric lights – plugged into the wall.
These type of events attract the entire city, so you can expect to see everyone you’ve known since kindergarten. (This means makeup, hair, maybe even a new outfit.)
The good thing about knowing everyone is that when you lose your child (which will inevitably happen at some point during the night) the whole city is there to help you find him.
Losing my child, among hundreds of children, at night, is actually my worst nightmare – second only to my newest fear of my house burning down from a Christmas tree fire.
But I digress.
The city’s finest toss in a small table top tree that must have been doused in kerosene because it turns all sorts of technicolors, along with a medium sized tree still covered in silver tinsel.
Somewhere in China the devil himself still owns a tinsel factory. (He makes Easter grass and packing peanuts in the off-season.)
For the grand finale, the firefighters lug a huge 10-foot Frasier fir into the fire, courtesy of the Griswold family.
The crowd cheers as the flames roar.
Embers fall over us like shooting stars, and a great cloud of smoke looms overhead.
As Colt and his friends run around the smoldering remains of our holiday season, I can’t help but feel grateful to live in such a good ole fashioned hometown with events such as this one.
Also, thank God we have a fake tree.