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Parade of Trees dazzles in Lake Park over Thanksgiving weekend

The American Legion in Lake Park hosted 41 Christmas tree displays in their 17th annual Parade of Trees over Thanksgiving weekend. The event drew more than 500 people over the four-day weekend and raised about $1,500 in funds for the community, an event organizer said.

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Chloe Sommer, 7, and her mom, Tawnie Sommer, of Lake Park, fill out a Christmas card on the floor during the 17th Annual Parade of Trees at the American Legion in Lake Park on Nov. 27, 2021. (Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune)

Some were snow white and decorated with donuts.

Others showcased colorful lights with curly ribbons and decorative ornaments that played into the theme of their sponsoring organization.

Some were made by staking books, or rolls of toilet paper with highlighting laser lights, or even incorporating sunflowers in a dazzling blend of seasons that are not normally associated together.

With 41 different Christmas tree displays sponsored by various community organizations, the 17th annual Parade of Trees dazzled more than 500 event attendees at the American Legion in Lake Park over the four-day Thanksgiving weekend.

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Christmas trees are displayed during the 17th Annual Parade of Trees at the American Legion in Lake Park on Nov. 27, 2021. The event showcased 41 different displays and saw more then 500 attendees over the Thanksgiving weekend. (Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune)

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Christmas trees are displayed during the 17th Annual Parade of Trees at the American Legion in Lake Park on Nov. 27, 2021. The event showcased 41 different displays and saw more then 500 attendees over the Thanksgiving weekend. (Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune)

The event, which was free, brought in more than $1,500 in donations that will be used for the betterment of Lake Park, said Karen Erickson, one of the event organizers.

"It's better than 2019," said Erickson. "(The donations) will go to the beatification of Lake Park."

She said she hopes the donations will help with funding a small neighborhood memorial park for the community.

In addition to the amazing displays, Erickson said, the volunteers who make the Parade of Trees part of their annual tradition are also one of the main reasons for the event's success.

"A lot of them are the same (volunteers) year, after year, after year, after year," she said. "But then families, because we're open Thanksgiving evening … and the Lewis family has done that day for years and they just like it because all these families come in … it's a big tradition."

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Event volunteer Audrey Kuehl, left, of Lake Park, watches a Parade of Trees attendee sign into the event's guest book during the 17th Annual Parade of Trees at the American Legion in Lake Park on Nov. 27, 2021. The event showcased 41 different displays and saw more then 500 attendees over the Thanksgiving weekend. (Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune)

One of the families that came through the line of Christmas displays over the weekend was the Sommer family of Lake Park.

"It just reminds me of the Christmas spirit," said 8-year-old Cheyenne Sommer, of Lake Park, one of the event attendees.

She said there is something special in the air during the holidays that isn't there during the rest of the year, and she loves Christmas because she gets to spend time with her family.

Cheyenne and her 7-year-old sister, Chloe, had a hard time picking their favorite trees, but eventually decided on the Caring Hands and Hearts community sharing tree and the "Last Christmas" tree, which sported a tower of toilet paper and laser lights.

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Chloe Sommer, 7, and her sister, Cheyenne, smile next to the "Last Christmas" tree during the 17th Annual Parade of Trees at the American Legion in Lake Park on Nov. 27, 2021. The event showcased 41 different displays and saw more then 500 attendees over the Thanksgiving weekend. (Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune)

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When asked why she liked the toilet paper Christmas tree, Chloe Sommer said, "Because it's made of toilet paper."

She also agreed that toilet paper wasn't something usually associated with Christmas, and her favorite part of putting up a Christmas tree was decorating it.

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Chloe Sommer, 7, and her sister, Cheyenne, smile next to the Caring Hands and Hearts sharing tree during the 17th Annual Parade of Trees at the American Legion in Lake Park on Nov. 27, 2021. The event showcased 41 different displays and saw more then 500 attendees over the Thanksgiving weekend. (Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune)

Cheyenne said she liked the Caring Hearts and Hands sharing tree because it's nice for anyone, especially if they don't have a lot of stuff, to be able to come and receive a present from the community tree.

Each of the event's visitors received a poker chip to place in their favorite tree's bucket for the coveted People's Choice Award, which grants bragging rights to the display's owner until the following year.

This year's winner, with 49 votes, was "The Night Before Christmas at the Hunting Cabin," displayed by Andy Breitenfeldt on behalf of the Frazee Sportsman's Club.

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The Christmas display, "The Night Before Christmas at the Hunting Cabin," is shown during the 17th Annual Parade of Trees at the American Legion in Lake Park on Nov. 27, 2021. The event showcased 41 different displays and saw more then 500 attendees over the Thanksgiving weekend. (Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune)

If you are interesting in seeing more of the individual tree displays, or want to reserve your spot in the 2022 Parade of Trees, check out the group's Facebook page .

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