City staffers and volunteers have put their collective artistic minds together to come up with a unique theme for the town's Christmas tree that was unveiled during yesterday's annual downtown Christmas celebration hosted by the Apalachicola Bay Chamber of Commerce at Riverfront Park.
The new tree is made up of netting and steel pipe formerly used as outrigging on a shrimp boat and erected to simulate a Christmas tree. The “Net Tree” as its being called is adorned with nautical décor as ornaments along with traditional Christmas lights and assorted sized gift wrapped boxes and red poinsettias underneath. Smaller traditional artificial trees decorated with red lights border both sides of the tree. The "Net Tree" replaces the cedar tree removed for safety reasons from the park last April, while plans to mitigate the removal are being worked out by city staff and should be finalized by the end of December this year.
The theme compliments Apalachicola's maritime heritage and Santa’s annual arrival to the celebration via shrimp boat, which has become itself a local Christmas tradition that draws hundreds to Apalachicola the Friday after Thanksgiving.
As the town swelled with visitors, local merchants saw a jump in sales at their cash registers, while a line that lasted throughout the day formed in front of the "Net Tree", where both locals and visitors waited patiently to take photos of each other before and after Apalachicola Mayor Van Johnson flipped the switch to light things up.
After the tree was lit, carolers dressed in periodic costumes sung “Old Christmas Tree” while faced toward a glowing downtown where store fronts and palm trees adorned with Christmas lights created along with the "Net Tree" an impressive image of Apalachicola worthy of a Hallmark greeting card.
Like Apalachicola, other communities across the country have come up with innovated ways to show off their uniqueness during the Christmas holiday season, one such community is the town of Lynchburg, Tennessee. During the 2011 Christmas season Lynchburg raised a 26 ft. tall "Barrel Tree" made up of 140 recycled oak whiskey barrels stacked high and decked out with Christmas lights.
Who knows, perhaps city staff have unwittingly stumbled upon an excellent marketing tool to help promote historically unique Apalachicola during future Christmas holiday seasons.