Americans United for Separation of Church and State

Greater Phoenix Chapter

Old Home Home Contact Us Upcoming
Events
Past
Events
Photos
Videos
Church State Issues Report Church State Violations Join
Email List
Leave
Email List
Membership Donations Request
Speaker
Take
Action
Legal
Resources
Facebook Meetup Links Send Letter to Editor

                                                                                                                       

Church State Issues

Chandler, Arizona mixes government and religion with a tumbleweed Christmas tree

Nov 24, 2012

East Valley Tribune

Chandler workers prep tumbleweed tree for Christmas event

Posted: Friday, November 23, 2012 5:30 pm

By Mike Sakal, Tribune

It’s beginning to look like a tumbleweed tree Christmas.

This week, Chandler Parks Department workers have been touching up and prepping the 30-feet tall tree at Dr. A.J. Chandler Park to gussy it up in time for a long-running tradition — the 56th annual Tumbleweed Christmas Tree Lighting and Parade of Lights ceremony.

The tree lighting, to be held near Arizona Avenue and Chandler Boulevard, is expected to attract at least 5,000 people.

The parade begins at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 1, with the tree lighting expected about an hour later, said Russ Lassuy, a Chandler parks maintenance tech.

Earlier this week, workers were stuffing more tumbleweeds, also known as Russian thistle, in the tree, and filling in holes around the steel frame.

The tradition of the tumbleweed tree started in the late 1950s, when Chandler resident Earl Barnum first floated the idea after seeing something similar in Indiana, according to information from the city. Residents built the first tree using tumbleweeds they gathered around town.

This week, workers are planning to spread glitter on the tree and paint the steel frame; early next week, it will be covered with lights.

"We’re working on it, and trying to make the tree look more symmetrical," Lassuy said. "By the time we put the star on top, the tree will be about 33 feet tall."

Between 1,500 to 2,000 tumbleweeds are collected each year for the tree.

Then, the tumbleweeds are sprayed with 25 gallons of white paint, 20 gallons of flame retardant and dusted with 65 pounds of glitter. The tree is later adorned with approximately 1,200 holiday lights.

Barbara Young, a manager in Chandler’s Recreation Department, said, "It’s pretty spectacular. People who work on it have to go farther out of the city to collect the tumbleweeds. Because of all the growth, tumbleweeds are getting harder to find."

Chandler Tumbleweed Christmas Tree Lighting

When: 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1

Where: Dr. A.J. Chandler Park at Arizona Avenue and Chandler Boulevard

Cost: Free admission

Entertainment

Stage Schedule:

• 4:30 p.m. to 4:50 p.m. — COC Dance

• 5 p.m. to 5:20 p.m. — Angels Dance Studio

• 5:30 p.m. to 5:50 p.m. — The Dance Loft

• 6 p.m. to 6:20 p.m. — The Arizona Mood Swings

• 8:40 p.m. to 9 p.m. — Studio 3 Showstoppers

East Ramada Schedule:

• 4:30 p.m. to 4:50 p.m. — New Vistas Show Choir

• 5 p.m. to 5:20 p.m. — Dance Express

• 5:30 p.m. to 5:50 p.m. — Chandler School of Fine Arts Strings

• 6 p.m. to 6:20 p.m. — Ocotillo Dance Center

• 6:30 p.m. to 6:50 p.m. — Stacy J Dancing, Scorch, Blaze and The Rivals

Parade:

• 5:30 p.m. to 6:50 p.m. — Senior Elite Showstoppers, caroling along parade route

Complain about this violation of Church & State to:

Rick Heumann
City Council
P.O. Box 4008
Chandler, AZ 85244-4008
480-782-2200
480-782-2233 Fax
Mayor&Council@chandleraz.gov
rick.heumann@chandleraz.gov
Kevin Hartke
City Council
P.O. Box 4008
Chandler, AZ 85244-4008
480-782-2200
480-782-2233 Fax
Mayor&Council@chandleraz.gov
kevin.hartke@chandleraz.gov
Trinity Donovan
City Council
P.O. Box 4008
Chandler, AZ 85244-4008
480-782-2200
480-782-2233 Fax
Mayor&Council@chandleraz.gov
trinity.donovan@chandleraz.gov
Mayor Jay Tibshraeny
Mayor's Office
P.O. Box 4008
Chandler, AZ 85244-4008
480-782-2200
480-782-2233 Fax
Mayor&Council@chandleraz.gov
jay.tibshraeny@chandleraz.gov
Matt Orlando
City Council
P.O. Box 4008
Chandler, AZ 85244-4008
480-782-2200
480-782-2233 Fax
Mayor&Council@chandleraz.gov
matt.orlando@chandleraz.gov
Jack Sellers
City Council
P.O. Box 4008
Chandler, AZ 85244-4008
480-782-2200
480-782-2233 Fax
Mayor&Council@chandleraz.gov
jack.sellers@chandleraz.gov
Jeff Weninger
City Council
P.O. Box 4008
Chandler, AZ 85244-4008
480-782-2200
480-782-2233 Fax
Mayor&Council@chandleraz.gov
jeff.weninger@chandleraz.gov