Home-Grown Spruce Tree to Become Centerpiece for West Chicago's Frosty Fest
Grand Tree Lighting Ceremony
Saturday, December 4, 2010 - 4:30 p.m.
Fox Community Center
Move over New York and Chicago, West Chicago will be the recipient of its own home-grown holiday tree which will become the center-piece for the community’s seasonal celebration, Frosty Fest.
Kramer Tree Specialists, in West Chicago since 1985, will remove a spruce tree measuring nearly 35’ from the front yard of lifelong resident Jean Day on Wednesday. Kramer will then transport, erect and fully decorate the tree (approximately 20’ due to space constraints) at the Fox Community Center on Main Street as a gift to the residents of West Chicago. “We are happy to make this donation to the community,” said Joe Kramer. “It will be very special.”
The tree, which according to Jean started out small and scrawny, was originally located on a lot owned by her and her husband Mike in 1974, and was moved two times before ending up in its permanent location at the family home on National Street. It grew in height and width over the years, until finally causing issues because of the size of the root system and its proximity to the house. It needed to come down, but at a dear cost, both practically and sentimentally.
“I thought about submitting it to the newspaper for consideration as the Daley Plaza holiday tree in Chicago,” said Jean. “But, then I thought, ‘hey, with my history, its better here.’” That history includes a brother, Willis (Chic) Gladding who was West Chicago mayor from 1957- 1961, and her beloved husband Royal, known to everyone as Mike, who owned Day’s 66 Service Station on East Washington Street and who was named Citizen of the Year in 1969. The couple was married for 32 years before Mike passed away at age 59. He was eulogized for, among other things, his service and concern for others and his resilience during the rough economic times in the years of World War II when gasoline was rationed and tires and batteries in short supply.
The tree donation has turned into a time of reminiscence for Jean. The 89-year old lifelong resident took obvious pride and pleasure leafing through a scrapbook which contained memorabilia documenting the birth of her two sons, Skip and John, also current West Chicago residents, and her four great-grandchildren, one of whom is named Royal in honor of her “Mike”. “I don’t know where the past trees have come from for the community celebration, but this one is home-made,” said Jean.
An official tree lighting ceremony will be held on Saturday, December 4, 2010 at the Fox Community Center, located at 306 Main Street in downtown West Chicago. It will immediately follow the Frosty Fest procession at approximately 4:30 p.m. A full schedule of Frosty Fest activities and entertainment may be found at www.westchicago.org.
- Rosemary Mackey
- City of West Chicago
475 Main Street
West Chicago, Illinois 60185
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