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Annual Park Rapids community tree lighting on Main is this Friday

Paul Utke, left, and Steve Walsh examine the blue spruce they cut down from a yard on Highway 34 west of Steve Bolton's law office. Robin Walsh also helped with the tree cutting. (Anna Erickson / Enterprise)1 / 2
Robin Walsh, left, and Paul Utke help guide the community Christmas tree into a hole on Main street while Steve Walsh operates a loader to hold the tree up. The tree was cut down Sunday on Highway 34. (Anna Erickson / Enterprise)2 / 2

A blue spruce is standing in downtown Park Rapids waiting to be lit up Friday at the annual community Christmas tree lighting celebration.

This year's tree was given by Jack Brann, of Affinity Real Estate in Park Rapids, along with wife Trisha, daughter Jaime and Scott and Carrie Parks. The tree was located on Highway 34 in a yard to the west of Steve Bolton's law office.

Brothers Steve and Robin Walsh, of Dick Walsh Forest Products, donated their time and equipment to cut down the tree Sunday afternoon, something they have done for many years, along with newly-appointed Park Rapids councilman Paul Utke.

Once the tree was cut down, a quick count of the rings indicated the tree was 47 years old.

The annual tree lighting celebration and Yuletide Sampler, sponsored by the Park Rapids Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce starts at 5 p.m. Friday in downtown.

The Yuletide Sampler starts at 5 p.m. with refreshments at downtown businesses.

Light Up a Life Tree Lighting, by St. Joseph's Hospice, begins at 6 p.m. The tree will be lit by bulbs honoring a friend or loved one. To sponsor a bulb contact: St. Joseph's Hospice for Light Up a Life at 732-3311. A $5 gift will light up a bulb on the Christmas tree through New Year's.

The Calvary Lutheran Choir, conducted by Paul Dove, will lead the audience in carols with the sound system provided by Joe Christianson.

This year's emcees are Park Rapids city administrator Bill Smith and his wife, Sherry.

Santa will also make an appearance that evening at Jackpine Java on Main. Santa will continue to be at Jackpine Java from 4 to 7 p.m. each Friday until Christmas.