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Delivering Festival Magic, One Tree at a Time

Every year on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, the Holiday Tree Festival ends. The music is turned off. The trees are unplugged. And what happens during the next 48 hours is nothing short of amazing.

For all of the effort that happens before the festival opens, just as much work goes into preparing the trees, wreaths and holiday gifts for pick up or delivery. Everything must be wrapped in plastic or boxed, and 15 large delivery trucks and nearly 100 firefighters and volunteers ensure the trees arrive safely to their new homes.

This year, I volunteered to be a “fluffer.” My job was to make sure the tree looked just as pretty in its new home as it did during the festival.

I arrived at the John S. Knight Center on Tuesday morning with my partner for the day, Lori Baker. We met up with the other half of our delivery team: three firefighters, who thankfully, would do the heavy lifting.

Armed with detailed directions, extra scissors, extension cords and other supplies, we set off to deliver our five trees.

At each stop, our faithful crew of firefighters unloaded the trees from the delivery truck, while Lori and I rang the doorbell and introduced ourselves. Once they carried the trees inside, the heavy plastic that covered the trees was rolled and placed underneath—a perfect cushion for the skirt and other items that came with each tree.

Using a picture of the tree that was taken at the festival, Lori and I then went to work making sure everything looked as special as it did during the festival. (Thankfully, the decorators are asked to secure the ornaments and lights with wire, so the trees are already assembled.)

In just under three hours, all of our trees were delivered, plugged in and ready to make new memories in their new homes. Admittedly, I spent the rest of the day smiling when I thought about all of the fun we had.

For many, the Holiday Tree Festival is the official start of the holiday season, and even after it’s over, the festival’s beauty and magic continues in homes and businesses throughout the area. And that is something truly special.

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