Waynesville town tree.jpg

NOW THAT’S A TREE — Oak Park Inn in downtown Waynesville volunteers its towering 60-foot-tall spruce to stand in as the town Christmas tree each year. The lighting of the tree will be at 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6.

Garland-wrapped lamp posts? Check.

Carolers and hot chocolate? Check.

Santa strolling the sidewalks? Check.

When it comes to Christmas, downtown Waynesville has it covered.

But for years, there was always one thing missing from the otherwise picture-perfect holiday scene: the quintessential town tree.

Carolyn Brunk recalls sitting in a Downtown Waynesville Association meeting in late summer three years ago, laying the preliminary groundwork for the classic Christmas festivities still a few months out, when the conversation turned to the long missing ingredient of a town Christmas tree.

Brunk, the owner of the Oak Park Inn on Main Street, glanced down the table to her next-door neighbor, Kandi Medford of Kandi’s Cakes and Bake Shop. They knew in an instant they were both thinking the same thing.

“We said ‘We have a tree,’” Brunk recalled.

And what a perfect tree it was. The enormous Norway spruce stands over 60 feet tall, with long, elegant boughs cascading from its towering frame along Main Street.

That year, Brunk bought the lights and Kandi’s husband, who owns Medford Tree Service, used his bucket truck for the Herculean task of draping the giant spruce in lights.

“It’s so tall and you can see the star on the top from the Ingle’s parking lot on the hill across town,” Brunk said.

The following year, it was anointed as the official town tree and the Waynesville electric department took over the job of stringing the lights.

The ceremonial lighting of the town tree has now become a Christmas tradition. The lighting will be held at 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6. Local churches will provide hot chocolate and carolers

The lighting this year coincides with Art After Dark, a monthly gallery stroll through downtown. The tree at the Oak Park Inn is perfectly located to welcome visitors as they approach the core downtown business district, and helps bring that end of Main Street into the larger fold.

Most things happen further down Main Street, and we love that we can provide something up this end,” Brunk said.

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