BREMERTON — ’Tis the season for a tree lighting, and Tracyton isn’t about to disappoint.
On Nov. 27, volunteers gathered to string up 600 lights on the Tracyton Community Tree in preparation for Dec. 3’s lighting ceremony and Santa Claus visit.
And getting to that point was not a simple journey, either.
The Tracyton Tree Lighting dates back to the 1940s, when it was held at a different tree. But sometime in the early 1980s, according to Bonnie Chrey, the old tree died, and the community needed to find a replacement. They found it in a massive tree in front of the Tracyton United Methodist Church, close enough to the building to have access to its electricity.
“It’s really a community tree, not a church tree,” said Joan Simmons.
A couple years ago, the old lights — dating back to when the Tracyton Community Tree event started — needed replacing. So the Tracyton community held a fundraiser. Many people pitched in; they received a grant from the Suquamish Tribe, and lots of donations.
“It means a lot to the community,” Simmons said. “We got letters and donations from people who used to live here, who remembered the tree an dwanted to donate and be part of it.”
And more recently, thanks to extensive damage to the lights, they all needed to be taken down and repaired.
“We worked on it for probably three-and-a-half weeks,” said Bob Carter, who was responsible for the repairs. “We went through like 2,000 tie wraps.”
And on Monday, Nov. 27, with the help of Millican Crane Service, the gigantic tree in front of the Tracyton United Methodist Church, volunteer re-strung those 600 holiday lights on the tree.
“I’ve lived in Tracyton just about my whole life,” Carter said. “It’s been a neat thing for the community to have a lit tree.”
Chrey said the Dec. 3 event is “quite a festival.”
“At 6 o’clock (p.m.) the lights go on, and that’s Santa’s cue to come down here on the fire engine,” Chrey said, “and he gives the kids candy canes, and there’s singing and cookies … and hot cider and different things for everyone.”
Chrey said the festival has, in previous years, attracted about 200 people, though she hopes this year will bring even more out.
“It’s a fun event, a community get together,” Chrey said.
The community tree lighting will be at 6 p.m. Dec. 3 at the Tracyton United Methodist Church, 5153 Naomi Ave., Bremerton. For more information, visit the Tracyton Community Tree Facebook page, goo.gl/j9v18j.