Geneva's damaged Christmas tree has to be cut down

 
 
Posted4/25/2019 10:34 AM
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  • The tall spruce tree in front of the Kane County Courthouse on Third Street in Geneva, which serves as the city's Christmas tree during holiday festivals, is damaged and is expected to be cut down. "We are not certain when it will come down, but I'm thinking it would be done before Swedish Days," said Laura Rush of the Geneva Chamber of Commerce.

    The tall spruce tree in front of the Kane County Courthouse on Third Street in Geneva, which serves as the city's Christmas tree during holiday festivals, is damaged and is expected to be cut down. "We are not certain when it will come down, but I'm thinking it would be done before Swedish Days," said Laura Rush of the Geneva Chamber of Commerce. Courtesy of Dave Heun

It has to be at least somewhat rare for a community to have the perfect holiday season setting -- a large tree that can be decorated right in the middle of where the town stages its holiday events.

Geneva has had that good fortune with the tall spruce tree in front of the Kane County Courthouse on Third Street since it was first planted 36 years ago.

Since then, it most certainly has been the focal point of the annual Christmas Walk that traditionally signals the start of the holiday season in town since 1946.

One would be hard-pressed to find a more ideal tree in a more ideal spot -- which will make it a little difficult to say goodbye to this 50-foot-plus blue spruce.

In case you haven't noticed, the tree is in pretty bad shape and the Geneva Chamber of Commerce, which stages the Christmas Walk each year, is well aware of its pending doom.

"The county confirmed it is taking the tree down, but we knew it was coming down, even before last year's Christmas Walk," said Laura Rush, the chamber's communications manager. "The ice storm we had just before they took down the lights and ornaments last year really damaged the tree and pieces of it were coming down."

Anyone who walks by the tree can tell its days most certainly are numbered, as one side of the tree is almost bare.

"We had a fence around it during Christmastime because we didn't want anyone to get too close to it," Rush said. "But we are working on it and determining what we are going to do about it."

The chamber will discuss the situation with city officials to share ideas and potential timetables for a replacement.

Some people have come forward with ideas to help with the process, but Rush said it will take some time to figure out what the chamber can afford, and what kind of tree is needed.

The county will cut down the tree, but the chamber has to "take it from there," Rush added.

The tree has delighted thousands of people over the years as the electric boxes attached to its base have served as the spot for someone, usually a citizen accompanied by the mayor, to flip the switch after a countdown to light up the entire city in early December.

Other cities have similar traditions, but few, if any, have such a tree from which to carry on the festivities in the exact spot you want people to celebrate.

This is not to take away from the holiday lights ceremony that takes place in St. Charles, or Batavia's "Celebration of Lights" and its Christmas Tree Lane.

All we're saying is Geneva had the perfect tree in the perfect place for many years.

"It's just a sad little tree now," Rush said. "We are not certain when it will come down, but I'm thinking it would be done before Swedish Days."

But residents who put Christmas Walk on their calendars every year need not fret about what type of decorations will unfold in the future.

"The chamber is going to come to the rescue on this and take care of Geneva," Rush said.

Talk about houses:

Being able to share the historical information about a house, park or other community-gathering place seems like it would be a fun task.

The St. Charles Park District and St. Charles History Museum are hoping some residents feel that way.

The museum is looking for docents to help with the Pottawatomie House Walk Tour 2019 event to be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 18. Those volunteers will tell visitors about the architectural significance of the homes along the walk.

The museum will host a training session for those interested at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 11. Those interested can register on the park district website or get more information by calling the museum at (630) 584-6967 or email info@stcmuseum.org.

Providing help for Haiti:

Some of my friends spent a lot of time in Haiti when volunteers were helping the country recover from its massive earthquake in 2010 that killed hundreds of thousands of people.

Ever since, various organizations have continued to provide help to this country on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola.

One such organization, Hope for Haitians, will hold its eighth annual 5K Walk/Run for Education at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, May 11, at the Kane County Government Center in Geneva.

Those interested in participating in the fundraiser should register by May 4. Cost is $25 for adults and $30 on race day, while children 12 and younger participate free.

Registration is taken at HopeforHaitians.org.

It's been 35 years:

It's hard to believe that April 27 marks 35 years since my wife and I were getting hitched on a Friday afternoon at St. Patrick Church in St. Charles -- with a strong storm whipping through the area at the time.

Luckily, our marriage hasn't carried on that stormy effect and we planned on spending our 35th wedding anniversary at the "Piano Man" show at Pheasant Run's Mainstage Theater.

You see, I'm still trying to make good on what was my ridiculous first attempt at this wedding anniversary stuff. For our first anniversary in 1985, Pat simply said, "Surprise me. Take me somewhere I haven't been."

So I did. We went to Sportsman's Park in Cicero and she watched me bet on the ponies for an afternoon.

Let's not forget that hardly anyone in the Chicago area shed any tears when Sportsman's Park met the wrecking ball in 2009. For lack of a better term, it was kind of a seedy place.

Those who knew the history of this place often talked about Al Capone first having his fingerprints all over it when operating it as a dog track.

I didn't tell my wife that, of course. It would have been part of this surprise anniversary event that would have made things much worse.

The track's trademark aroma -- a combination of cigarettes, cigars and horse stables -- did enough to tell us both that I needed a mulligan for the rest of our wedded lives in regard to anniversary celebrations.

A benefit concert:

The Matt Erion Dodeca band from Aurora will celebrate International Jazz Day with a benefit concert from 7 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 30, at Kiss the Sky record shop in Batavia.

The benefit comes in the form of those attending being admitted simply by donating a nonperishable food item to benefit the Marie Wilkinson Food Pantry in Aurora.

Erion is a Batavia resident who put together this band in 2016, and made its debut in 2017 at the Fat Tuesday concert at the former Fourth Street United Methodist Church in Aurora.

dheun@sbcglobal.net

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