Chandler's very untraditional holiday tradition is taking shape this week in its downtown, where workers are beginning to assemble a 25-foot-tall tumbleweed tree. Already, the center pole for the tree is in place at Dr. A. J. Chandler Park, just west of Arizona Avenue and south of Chandler Boulevard. A parks crew will then put wire framing up to form a Christmas tree shape that will hold 1,000 to 1,500 tumbleweeds. Early next week, crews will add 20 gallons of flame retardant, 25 gallons of white paint and 65 pounds of glitter. About 1,200 lights will illuminate the tree at night.
The tumbleweed tree tradition dates to 1957, when Chandler resident Earl Barnum proposed the idea after seeing a similar tree in Indiana built from pine boughs stuck in chicken wire. Community members pitched in to build the first tree, and the tradition has carried on with city employees now collecting tumbleweeds in the fall.
This year's lighting ceremony is 4:30 p.m. Dec. 3, with entertainment and activities. The Parade of Lights begins at 7 p.m. with the lighting event following at about 8 p.m.