Annual tree-lighting kicks off Christmas season

The hail storm in July may have damaged the Aspen that has served as the community’s Christmas tree for years.

BY BRYAN GALLEGOS

Dunn County Herald

But the storm that ravaged Killdeer did not kill the spirit behind that tree.

And the city will be putting it on display again this year in living color. Lot’s of color.

“The hail storm killed some of the limbs, so we kind of have a ‘Charlie Brown’ tree,” said Killdeer Auditor Dawn Marquardt. “We’re going to add some new lights this year.”

The tree lighting ceremony will be held at 6 p.m. on Dec. 9 at the clock tower.

For Armando Gutierrez, it will bring back memories of his own childhood. He grew up in a small town in Colorado.

Gutierrez, a roofer who moved to Dickinson with a friend this summer and worked for a company that helped Killdeer recover from the hail storm’s handiwork, said the lighting of the community tree was a big deal when he was growing up.

“We really looked forward to it. It just seemed like everybody started feeling good,” Gutierrez said. “We all stood there together, watching and waiting, and when the lights came on, it was like we were all a family.”

That’s what it’s all about, said Marquardt.

“It’s a way to get the community together,” she said.

In addition to the new lights, there will be a few holiday figurines for decor, she said, like Santa Claus and some elves.

Wait, did she say a figurine of Santa Claus?

Guess what? The real deal – the jolly old St. Nick will be there as well. And so will his bubbly bride.

Yes,  Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus will be there to greet and wish everybody a very Merry Christmas.

There will be music, you know, Christmas caroling. The Lutheran League – a group of high school kids will be leading the way, but anybody is welcome to join.

Count Gutierrez in.

“I love singing ‘Silent Night,’ ” he said. “That’s my favorite.”

But he’s good with “Jingle Bells” too.

And after the tree-lighting ceremony, there will be hot chocolate and cookies served at the Killdeer Aquatics and Wellness Center.

People can close out the night with a free swim at the aquatics center pool, Marquardt said.


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