Giant tree lights up on Friday

Published 3:09 pm Saturday, November 28, 2009

Anyone who has traveled in Demopolis along U.S. Highway 80 or U.S. Highway 43 between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day has seen the giant Christmas tree created in lights on the guy wires supporting the Black Warrior Electric Membership Corporation radio tower.

Visible from the Rufus King Bridge spanning the Tombigbee River north of Demopolis, the tree has come to be one of several sights around town during the Christmas season.

The tree marks its 52nd season this year, a tradition that began when Black Warrior Electric bookkeeper Belle Clem returned from Virginia in 1957 and saw something similar to that.

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The tree is turned on for the first time each year the day after Thanksgiving and is turned off on New Year’s Day.

The lights are turned on automatically at sundown and turned off at sunrise.

Webb Antenna and Tower Service maintains the tree, replacing lights as needed.

“They put the lights up on Nov. 19 and finished the next day,” said BWEMC manager Daryl Jones. “At the end of the season, in January, they’ll take them back down and store them so the wind doesn’t bust all the bulbs and break the wire.”

The Black Warrior Electric Christmas tree continues to represent the Christmas spirit of the town, a season’s greeting up in lights.