For over 60 years Silverdale Rotarians have been teaming with the Silverdale Dandy Lions, arborists, many generous companies, community volunteers and donors, and young people doing community service from the County Sheriff Juvenile Division, to light up Silverdale’s 128 ft Christmas Tree.  But it’s not just a matter of turning on the main switch on Thanksgiving weekend and watching the lights alternate between all red and multicolor.  Considerable annual maintenance is required on the twelve 140-ft strings of light (a total of 408 light bulbs!), the star, and the grounds surrounding the tree. 
 
Silverdale Rotarian Rich Arper and Silverdale Dandy Lion Roland Arper, continuing the tradition of their Dad, the legendary Silverdale Rotarian Bob Arper, have coordinated that maintenance in recent decades.  On the morning of October 29, 20 people gathered in the rain to tackle fixing a string of lights that wasn’t functioning properly, plus to turn the star back in the right direction to face Silverdale.
 
Tree experts Dan Fields and Ben Paulson (pictured above) from Fields’s Tree Care LLC, with communication assist by arborist Ken Little, climbed to the top of the tree, branch by branch, and set up the pulley system to carefully lower the string to the ground for troubleshooting (pictured below)
This string was particularly pesky, and finally half the string’s insulation was removed by the 18 people on the ground to find not one, but two, hidden electrical shorts causing the problem (all the while the two climbers were waiting patiently at the top of the tree in the breezy rain!). 
The string was then re-wrapped with rolls and rolls of electrical tape (above),
burned out bulbs were replaced with specific colors according to the color diagram for that string (above), and the string was reeled back up the tree.  The climbers also turned the star to face Silverdale.  Then…test, test, test – SUCCESS!
 
The 62nd annual Tree Lighting event is scheduled for Saturday, November 26.  Family festivities start at 1:00 pm by Silverdale Antiques, and tree lighting is set for 6:00 pm.  For a history of this iconic tree and the community partnership forged to light it up every year, go to https://clubrunner.blob.core.windows.net/00000000730/en-us/files/homepage/silverdale-christmas-tree-history/Silv-Xmas-Tree-History-2-Nov-16.pdf .