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Tree's ready to be lit up tonight

Staff sergeants Michael Reith and Roger Hathaway help place the community Christmas tree into its holiday spot on Pioneer Way. The volunteers are members of the Marine Aviation Training Support Group 53 at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station. - Nathan Whalen/Whidbey News-Times
Staff sergeants Michael Reith and Roger Hathaway help place the community Christmas tree into its holiday spot on Pioneer Way. The volunteers are members of the Marine Aviation Training Support Group 53 at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station.
— image credit: Nathan Whalen/Whidbey News-Times

A police escort made sure the most prominent Christmas decoration in Oak Harbor found its way to its new home on Pioneer Way Wednesday morning.

It took a crane and a throng of volunteers to erect and decorate the 30-foot-tall tree donated by Jaeger Farms.

Police cars accompanied the tree through town to downtown. Volunteer Frank Scelzi with Old Town Mall said the size and width of the tree warranted the escort. Krieg Construction provided the crane needed to place the tree.

Personnel from the base’s Marine Aviation Training Support Group 53 volunteered to install the evergreen giant. Organizer Debra Staley said the Marine group was more than willing to volunteer.

The Marines had to install a large pipe in the ground for the tree trunk and they placed the star on the top before a crane lifted the humongous tree into place.

Other volunteers went to work decorating the yuletide monster and getting it ready for the tree lighting ceremony taking place today, Dec. 6, at 6 p.m. at the corner of Pioneer Way and Dock Street.

In addition to the tree lighting, the An-O-Chords will lead the community in singing Christmas carols and Santa Claus will board a pirate ship for his annual voyage through the streets of downtown. Following the lighting, Santa heads to the Old Town Mall to listen to the Christmas wishes of children.

Oak Harbor isn’t the only town on the island celebrating Christmas festivities today.

Coupeville is holding its annual Greening of Coupeville parade at 4 p.m., with a tree lighting to follow. After that, spectators can head downtown and enjoy an Art and Antique walk sponsored by the Front Street merchants, and wait for the Parade of Boats from the Oak Harbor Yacht Club to pass by at 6 p.m., all decorated for the Christmas season.

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