Scott County's Christmas tree arrived Monday, marking the official start of the holidays.
The 25-foot tree weighs about 2,000 pounds and required teamwork from Georgetown Public Works, the Georgetown/Scott County Tourism Office, Interstate Towing Service, Scott County Roads Department, the Georgetown Police Department and the Scott County Sheriff's Office to get the enormous tree in place in courthouse square.
"It doesn't really matter what the weather is like, unless it's really bad out there, we are going go ahead with the plan cause it takes a lot to make this happen," said J.R. Brandenburg with the county road department.
The tree was donated by a local Georgetown resident and hand picked by Brandenburg for its size and shape.
“It's a pretty tree," said Brandenburg.
Several residents offered an evergreen for the honor of being the county's Christmas tree. The tree usually comes from someone's yard because it has out grown the space, Brandenburg said.
Once the tree is in place, the work of decorating the tree can start. Lori Saunders, from the tourism office usually takes a crew from her office to do the decorating.
"We put the lights on with the help of the public works department and that usually takes most of the first day," said Saunders."The second day we start putting on the ornaments".
The tree will be the center of attention after the parade on Saturday evening when Santa himself will arrive by fire truck and light the tree.
All the effort is worthwhile to see the children, Brandenburg said.
"The kids love it so much and they make the work worth while.”
This year’s Christmas Parade will be Saturday at 6 p.m. and will follow its usual route starting on Memorial Drive on the Georgetown College campus, turn west on Main Street through downtown then south on Broadway to College Street before ending on Memorial.
The theme this year is "Singing in the Season”.
Over 48 groups of people who are entered in the parade will use that theme as to compete in three categories, Saunders said.
"We have the "Spectacular Sparkle" category that will focus on visual impact, the "Magic Spirit" category that will focus on entertaining value and the "Jingle All the Way" category that will award the best group on foot," said Saunders.
The judges will be challenged to assess the best from entries like the American Trucks, the Girl Scouts and new this year will be both high school marching bands performing. The groups will be judged by a secret group of volunteers and only Saunders knows who they are. Floats need to be registered for judging by 5 p.m. but late entries can participate up until 5:30 p.m.
A Georgetown College event called "Christmas at Georgetown” includes a community outreach activity for children will be held Saturday afternoon from 3 until 5 p.m. , said Christy Mai, Georgetown College Executive Director of Strategic Advancement Initiatives.
"We are committed to our relationship with the community and we want to partner with the community in as many ways that we can," said Mai.
The college and its student volunteers have planned activities for children to enjoy prior to the start of the parade including snow ball fights, a petting zoo with reindeer and a 'unicorn', ornament painting, with cookies and hot chocolate, all free of charge
"Success for us will be to run out of cookies and crafts!" said Mai.
This will be the first time in 31 years that Saunders will not be able to attend the parade and festivities.
"I have to be away on business this Saturday and I'm just heart broken,” said Saunders.
She said she will especially miss the lighting of the tree at the end of the parade.
The Georgetown Singers will be caroling at the courthouse.
jackie anders can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.