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Parade of Trees

Lake Park community members are working together to carry on a holiday event that is starting to become somewhat of a tradition.

This will be the sixth year for the town's "Parade of Trees," and event organizer Melanie Hanson says it's quickly turning into a family favorite.

"It's a community event where families, businesses, churches or organizations of any kind can put up a Christmas tree to display in the parade," said Hanson.

The event will be located at the American Legion on 2nd Street in Lake Park.

Roughly 30 trees will be set up and open to the public, and although there will be plenty of beautiful, traditional decorations, Hanson says to expect some creativity and "funk" as well.

"People can decorate them however they want and can use props around them, too," said Hanson, "so we do get some very unique, fun trees."

Hanson said in previous years, they've seen trees in bright, spring colors, a merry Halloween tree, a "bling" tree dripping in gold and a class of '78 tree with old pictures and school memorabilia.

"We even had a Charlie Brown tree that was pretty much just a stick with some peanuts around it," Hanson said, laughing.

In addition to the trees being a great opportunity for businesses to get a little free promotion, Hanson says it's also a creative way to get a message across.

"To promote safety, Wagner Insurance is putting together a 'drive now, text later' tree," said Hanson.

For some families, the event has turned into a way to honor a loved one that has passed away.

"They'll do a memorial tree with pictures of that person all over it," said Hanson, "and because it's such a small town, those really mean a lot to most of the people who end up viewing them."

Hanson says they will also have an "Angels among us" tree where visitors who have lost a loved one in the past year can come in and write their names on one of the angels and hang it on the tree.

There will be a freewill donation as visitors enter the Parade of Trees, which Hanson said will then be turned into community projects.

"We're looking at getting some seasonal flags for our downtown area, as well as some other beautification ideas," said Hanson, "and also possibly some things for the park and playground equipment...maybe some benches for the downtown."

Hanson said local volunteers have really pitched in to make this event happen, as community members are donating baked good to be shared at the event, as well as hot cider.

"It really gets you in the Christmas spirit," said Hanson, who added that visitors are asked to vote on their favorite for an award going to the Peoples' Choice.

"They don't get anything," laughed Hanson, "just a mention in next year's brochure and bragging rights."

The Parade of Trees is open for viewing starting on Thanksgiving through Nov. 26 from 3-8 p.m. and Nov. 27 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

"It's a good activity that everybody seems to like no matter how young or old," said Hanson, "and when it comes to holiday activities, that's sometimes hard to find."

For more information on the event, search it on Facebook under "Parade of Trees Lake Park."