Tree lighting rings in holidays

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Holiday cheer in Hayden will be unmistakable after the annual lighting of the community Christmas tree Saturday.

At about 7 p.m., Mayor Chuck Grobe will plug in thousands of colored lights on the large pine tree at "Spencer's Corner" -- Fourth Street and Jefferson Avenue.

Keith Spencer, now deceased, started the tradition on the property.

Several years ago, the Hayden Parks and Recreation Department replaced the lights, which stay on the tree year-round. The lights extend to a star at the tree's top -- about 80 feet high -- and stay lit through Christmas Day.

"It's about getting the community together," Parks and Recreation Supervisor J.D. Paul said.

The event, hosted by the Parks and Recreation Department, will include hot chocolate, snacks and Christmas carols.

A lighted tree is at the center of another Hayden tradition that locals and children know as the Roving Christmas Tree.

More than 60 years ago, the late Walter Weber loaded a lighted Christmas tree on a trailer and drove throughout Steamboat Springs, giving homemade candy to children.

4-H members and other groups kept the Christmas Eve tradition alive in Hayden starting in the 1980s.

This year, Weber's family is taking over the tradition once again, said Cindy Wright, Weber's granddaughter.

At about 4 p.m. Dec. 4, a trailer loaded with a decorated Christmas tree, elves and music will take to Hayden neighborhoods, stopping at homes with porch lights on and spreading holiday cheer.

Anybody interested in helping can call Wright at 276-4446.

-- To reach Tamera Manzanares, call 871-4204 or e-mail tmanzanares@steamboatpilot.com.

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