The Rock Island Park tree is a maple tree that has been in the park for many years.
The City of Eldon has a new feature this year highlighting the second annual lighted Christmas parade. Rock Island Park is the location of Eldon’s Magic Tree. Similar to other magic holiday trees in the state, Rock Island Park’s magic tree outdoes the famous Magic Tree in Columbia with over 66000 lights. Columbia’s Magic Tree only has 53000 lights.
The Rock Island Park tree is a maple tree that has been in the park for many years. Michael Brandt, Parks and Recreation Department Supervisor tells that the city’s Public works, Parks and Recreation, Fire, and Police departments were all involved in installing the lights.
He says “We also had Wrays Lawn and Landscaping staff and Top Notch Tree Service help as well, and both businesses donated their time and efforts.”
When asking Brandt what led to the idea to do the project for Eldon, he answered “We wanted to build off of the Lighted Christmas parade that we did last year. There are a lot of positive things going on in Eldon right now and this is another one of those things that make people happy.
The holiday season is a joyous time in many people lives and we are just trying to do our part. We wanted to do something that would bring many people to Eldon this winter and help bring friends and family’s together. The idea came from other trees in the state. We will continue to build off of the parade and we have already started planning next year’s event.”
The crowds that turned out in the 25 degree weather evidenced that the town's citizens appreciated the effort. Santa and his elves were on hand after the lighting taking pics with kids. Several businesses that are usually closed during the evening hours remained open for the event, adding to the festivity all over town.
Individuals were able to order ice cream from Bailey’s Ice Cream mobile truck, and Brew Brothers Coffee had a packed crowd warming themselves back up.
Many restaurants had full parking lots of cars after the event. Makes one wonder how many folks came from out of town to see the festivities. This project was a huge boom of business to the small community for the evening.
Funds raised by local businesses and individuals and were donated to the Eldon Christmas Committee. 66,830 LED lights were purchased at various local merchants and online. Eldon Christmas committee members are Brian Kidwell, Steve Johnson, Mark Beauchamp, and Michael Brandt. All are city employees and are already very busy during the holiday season. Brian Kidwell is the Eldon Police Chief and Mark Beauchamp is also an officer. Steve Johnson is the Public Works Supervisor. Michael Brandt is the the Parks and Recreation Supervisor. All of these fellows are young men stepping up for Eldon and it's exciting to watch them taking leadership roles to make the small town a better, more attractive place to live.
The event ties in with a full day of yuletide activities that took place in Eldon. A Winter Spendor Shopping Spree with over 40 vendors was at the community center from 10-3. The second annual Electric Christmas Parade proceeded through town starting at the South Elementary school through downtown at 5:15 pm followed by the tree lighting and pictures with Santa. Members of Miller County VFW Post 2442 Ladies Auxiliary served hot chocolate and s’mores at the celebration of the holidays. The Eldon High School Band and Choirs provided entertainment. Eldon’s Magic Tree was ceremoniously lit in spectacular fashion by the city’s Mayor Larry Henderson.