The Webber family brings Christmas cheer to all in Hayden. The Santas are Walt Webber's grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and the elves are great-great-grandchildren. Pictured are Ernie, Matthew, Josiah and Jonathon Wright, Trenton Lee, Bonnie and Josh Turner, Jessica and Gary Horne, and Alan and Brian Webber.

Courtsey photo

The Webber family brings Christmas cheer to all in Hayden. The Santas are Walt Webber's grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and the elves are great-great-grandchildren. Pictured are Ernie, Matthew, Josiah and Jonathon Wright, Trenton Lee, Bonnie and Josh Turner, Jessica and Gary Horne, and Alan and Brian Webber.

Christmas tree to rove Hayden

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What: Roving Christmas Tree takes to the streets of Hayden

When: 5 p.m. Monday

Where: Begins at The Haven Assisted Living Center, at 300 S. Shelton Lane

— Come Christmas Eve, Santa Claus will board a float and roam the streets of Hayden, bringing candy and Christmas cheer to all the children in town, a tradition the Webber family started seven decades ago in the Yampa Valley.

Everything began sometime in the 1930s, when Steamboat Springs electrician Walt Webber spent weeks decorating his truck with chicken wire stuffed with pine boughs and scores of twinkling lights, Webber's granddaughter Cindy Wright said.

Webber's descendents brought the tradition to Hayden in the 1970s. The family's living generations have been reviving the Roving Christmas Tree since 2005, after local organizations including the 4-H Critter Club took it over for a number of years.

The tree will begin its trek at The Haven Assisted Living Center at 5 p.m. Christmas Eve, and make its way on a roughly eight-mile path around town, visiting families on Hospital Hill and weaving its way through the downtown streets. The Roving Christmas Tree will play Christmas carols from the float and hand out candy bags assembled by the Goodtimes 4-H Club.

Accounts vary as to exactly when Webber started the Roving Christmas Tree tradition, with most estimates ranging from 1936 to 1938, longtime Hayden resident Donna Hellyer said.

The Roving Christmas Tree has been bringing Christmas cheer to the Yampa Valley ever since, stopping only during World War II, Wright said. Webber brought the tree back in the mid-1940s due to popular demand from the townspeople, she said.

The Roving Christmas Tree will take to the streets Monday, along with an army of Santas, Mrs. Clauses and elves - all portrayed by Webber's descendents.

Members of Wright's family look forward all year to Christmas Eve, when they will don their Christmas costumes and greet all of the townspeople who line the streets waiting for Santa Claus to stop by, she said.

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