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The tumbles are in town! Chandler gets ready for Annual Tumbleweed Tree Lighting

It's the 66th annual holiday celebration of the southwest, the City of Chandler's Tumbleweed Tree!

CHANDLER, Ariz. — Some things just go hand-in-hand with the holidays, like pumpkin pie, gingerbread houses, candy canes, and of course the City of Chandler's Annual Tumbleweed Tree Lighting. 

Chandler is the only city in the United States Southwest that has a Tumbleweed Tree. 

The idea for the Tumbleweed Tree came from Chandler resident Earle Barnum, who remembered a community tree built out of pine branches in his hometown of Elkhart, Indiana. Barnum thought that Chandler could also do something similar but with a southwestern twist.

Since pine branches were not abundant in the area, they settled on tumbleweeds. With Mayor Bert Lewis' approval The Lions Club, Ministerial Alliance, Kiwanis Club, and the Optimist Club, along with several other organizations, helped create tree decorations. 

>>Editor's note: The above photo is from 2021.

The construction method and tree's height and width have changed over the years. The team of builders updated the tree frame from a wooden pole to a new steel structure. 

Over the years, crews have perfected the tree's shape and overall appearance. The tree's average size is 33 feet tall and 18 feet wide at the base. More fire retardant has been added to the paint over the years to protect the tree from fire damage. The tree has burned seven times since 1957. 

Every October, the City of Chandler goes around the valley, searching and collecting as many tumbleweeds as possible. After nearly one-thousand tumbleweeds are collected, the City of Chandler builds the Tumbleweed Tree in mid-November. 

The annual tree-lighting event was scheduled to take place on the night of Dec. 3. But the city canceled the event due to stormy weather around the Valley, according to a Facebook post.

More information on the annual event can be found here: https://www.chandleraz.gov/explore/special-events/tumbleweed-tree-lighting-ceremony 

Check out https://www.chandleraz.gov/explore/special-events for other special events happening soon in Chandler. 

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