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Lights come down, and Christmas is over

The Christmas lights have finally been taken down off the giant pine tree that stands right outside the Northern Light Public-School Division.

The Christmas lights were taken down from the giant downtown spruce tree on Sunday, and today the entire tree will be removed.

As it was fully removed Tuesday morning, it was the second time that the tree  — standing 40-feet tall — has been dropped in its long life. The big spruce was initially cut down from a private property in November and brought to a specially crafted tree-stand on the grounds of Lac La Biche's downttown sub-office of the Northern Lights Public Schools office. The tree was strung with hundreds of lights to tower over the downtown and serve the central highlight of the annual Light Up the Night Christmas Parade on December 13. 

Similar trees are set up each year for the Light Up event, now it its fifth year, that features a nightime parade, downtown shopping, community hot-dog roasts and a fundraiser for local charities.

Cold stay

The latest tree was supposed to have been removed a little over a week into the new year, but extreme cold temperatures sidelined the machinery and manpower needed to pull it down. The delay forced organizers of the Light Up the Night event to re-visit the insurance policy that was taken out to cover the time the tree was initially supposed to be up.

When crews — Fortis workers volunteering their time and equipment, as well as local community helpers — worked to pull the strings of lights from the tree last Sunday, some of the branches were also severed to help de-tangle the long ropes of lights. Piece by piece, the top branches were cut and thrown down onto the blanket of snow below. Typically, these Christmas trees can take up to 40 minutes to take down.

Local tree removal company Tree Monkeys was out Tuesday morining to pick up the remaining parts of the giant tree, clearing up the area until the next tree is hoisted.