FREEPORT, Ill. (WTVO) – The Freeport community holiday tree is being taken down after standing for over 40 years.
The tree is reportedly being removed due to it being infected by a fatal fungal disease, according to FHN.
“It’s basically a type of untreatable ‘tree cancer,’” said FHN Director of Facilities Mike Kuropas. “Take a look around town next time you’re out and about and you’ll see that many other blue spruces have been similarly infected.”
The tree, which was planted in 1976, has been serving as the community’s holiday tree since 2003. FHN Physician and former President and CEO Dr. Michael Perry and his wife, Sue, have funded the purchase of another large tree to take the blue spruce’s place, and it will be in place in time to serve as this year’s community holiday tree.
“We look forward to continuing to host holiday tree lightings long into the future,” said FHN President and CEO Mark Gridley. “Of all the Festival of Trees activities, the annual tree lighting is my favorite. It signals the beginning of the holiday season, and the opportunity to celebrate a sense of community in sharing songs and treats and then counting down in unison to the lighting of the tree is a special part of FHN’s history that I really love.”
Depending of current COVID-19 health and safety restrictions, this year’s FHN Festival of Trees Holiday Tree Lighting is scheduled for dusk Sunday, Nov. 21. Details for this year’s lightening can be found on FHN’s website.