December 3, 2004
It’s 30 feet tall, made of tumbleweed and chicken wire and, at its core, could potentially appear in a Charlie Brown Christmas special.
But with the help of 25 gallons of white paint, 50 pounds of silver glitter and 1,500 lights, this makeshift monument becomes one of Chandler’s most exciting and coveted traditions — the Tumbleweed Tree.
"We rebuild it every year," said Dave Bigos, public relations officer with the city.
Park employees have been collecting tumbleweeds for the last few weeks to make sure this year’s tree is as big and beautiful as ever. Saturday’s 47th annual Tumbleweed Tree Lighting Ceremony in Dr. A.J. Chandler Park is expected to draw between 8,000 and 10,000 people and will be the final hoorah in a daylong list of holiday events held in the city.
"It’s a nice family event," Bigos said. "There’s entertainment, and arts and crafts on the square."
There will also be food and beverage vendors, and the shops and galleries in downtown Chandler will be open all day.
The holiday festivities will begin at 2 p.m. with the Holiday Masterpiece exhibit of decorated holiday tress and ornaments at the Vision Gallery, 80 S. San Marcos Place. The display items will be auctioned off for charity later in the season. At 4:30, stop by Santa’s house inside Dr. A.J. Chandler Park, where he will greet children and offer free photographs. Then, the eighth annual Parade of Lights will begin at 7 p.m., featuring floats and vehicles, decorated and illuminated by various school groups and businesses.
"It’s a pretty festive event," Bigos said. "The Parade of Lights, beyond the one in Phoenix, is one of the biggest in the Valley."
The parade will travel along Arizona Avenue from Chicago Street to Buffalo Street, making its way past the park. When the parade ends, families can wander over to the Tumbleweed Tree for the official lighting ceremony.