By Caitlin Coulter — [email protected]
“Everything about this tree is so thoughtful, even down to the picking of the seeds, and that is why I am so excited to be a part of this,” Outlets at Anthem General Manager Lisa Nyrose said of the mall’s annual tradition of serving as home to the state’s tallest holiday tree.
This year’s tree—once a sapling in the Shasta National Forest in Northern California—was recently marked by the forestry service as a tree ready to come down in order to allow new saplings to grow. At least one dozen seeds will be hand-selected and planted in its place.
While a 40-foot flatbed trailer hauls the 70-foot-tall white fir 750 miles to its new home in Anthem, the crew at the Outlets at Anthem are ready and waiting. A specially-designed 3-foot-wide by 7-foot-deep well is being dug in anticipation of its arrival.
6:30 a.m., Friday, Nov. 4
A crew of 10 people, accompanied by the Daisy Mountain Fire Department (and, Santa!), will be on site with an industrial crane to welcome the tree to the Outlets.
“You have to be bright eyed and ready to go,” advises Nyrose as she encourages the public to wake up early for the festive occasion. It’s a sight to see as helicopters hover to catch a glimpse of the tree as it is lowered into place and anchored by 6 strong guy-wires attached to the surrounding buildings.
Over the next couple of weeks, the all-natural tree gets a spruce up. Over 400 live branches, ranging from 3–10 feet, are drilled into sparse areas to get that pristine, uniform look of a Christmas tree. Afterwards, 120 gallons of fire retardant cover the tree for safety, before it is decked out with 10,000 bulbs from 80 strands of LED lights to make the tree pop. That’s 1.5 miles of lights! Or, in Anthem terms—roughly the distance from the Outlets to the Community Park.
Topping it off is a 3-foot-tall copper star, to honor the state metal. From start to finish, 120 hours of loving labor will go into this beloved tree to continue the tradition for the 21st year.
5 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 19
As part of the season’s kick-off celebration, the tree will be lit for the first time at 6 p.m. A concert with music from Phoenix-based blues artist Marcus Tinsley from season 18 of “American Idol” is scheduled. Santa’s cottage also officially opens on this date, and reservations for pictures can be booked online.
Once the season is over, the whole tree gets composted. “We’re all concerned about our environment and how we are impacting it. From start to finish, this is something that you can really feel great celebrating,” Nyrose said.
Outlets at Anthem
4250 W. Anthem Way, Anthem