Chandler Parks crew relishes chance to construct iconic tree SanTan Sun News

Chandler Parks crew relishes chance to construct iconic tree

November 9th, 2016 | by SanTan Sun News
Chandler Parks crew relishes chance to construct iconic tree
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By the City of Chandler Communications and Public Affairs Department

Mike Quihuis joined the Chandler Parks Division 27 years ago and worked on his first Tumbleweed Tree construction crew in 1990. This year, as the City’s Park Maintenance Supervisor, he oversees the 10-member crew that has already begun to construct the renowned Christmas tree in Dr. A.J. Chandler Park. The job takes on extra significance this year because it will be the City’s 60th Tumbleweed Tree, and Quihuis says his crew is excited and up to the task.

“Earlier this year, we started refurbishing the decorations that will go next to the tree, like Santa’s House and two large candles. Then, we started collecting more than a thousand tumbleweeds in early October,” Quihuis said. “This week, we raised the center pole, attached the wire frame and started securing the tumbleweeds in place. Once the tumbleweeds are hung, we shape it, paint it, toss on the glitter, and wrap it in lights. The last thing we do is top it with a star. Then, like everyone else, we wait for the parade and the tree lighting.”

The 60th Tumbleweed Tree will be lit on Dec. 3, at the end of a festive evening that will include entertainment, arts and crafts, activities for kids and the bright and cheerful Parade of Lights. The event begins at 4:30 p.m., with the parade starting at 7 p.m., and followed by the official tree lighting ceremony presided over by Mayor Jay Tibshraeny and the members of the City Council. More than 12,000 people are expected to fill the streets of downtown Chandler that night.

Quihuis said every member of the Parks Division and Recreation Division knows how special this holiday celebration is to the community, especially the children.

“Chandler is the only place you can find a tree like this. It’s our unique tradition, and something that we can share with others during the holidays,” he said. “We’re all happy to be a part of it.”

This year’s Tumbleweed Tree will sparkle and shine like a diamond thanks to more glitter, silver garland on the giant candles and a commemorative star topping the tree. Santa’s House also has been spiffed up for the holidays. Free photos with Santa will be available at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 8, and from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10 and Dec. 17.

The Tumbleweed Tree will be on display from Saturday, Dec. 3, to the first week in January. Everyone is welcome to visit and take family photos by the tree. Please share your photos on social media and use #tumbleweedtree.

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