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A perfect tree for our Green Giant

November 20, 2010
Chuck Hunt
In next week’s Faribault County Register we will have photos of all of the activities which were occurring in Blue Earth on Saturday.

Because our press time is Friday, we are unable to have them in this issue.

Those events include Santa Claus scarfing the Jolly Green Giant, the opening of the second phase of the Giant Museum, and one great big Christmas tree.

And, I mean big.

It seems more than slightly ironic that this tree, slated to be placed in front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. is making its one and only stop in Minnesota in Blue Earth.

In front of the Jolly Green Giant statue.

If it could be stood up off the truck it is riding on, the 67-foot tall, 6,600-pound, 87-year-old Englemann spruce would be a perfect Christmas tree for the 60-foot tall Giant.

Maybe the only tree that would do the Giant justice. Or be large enough to have his Christmas presents placed underneath.

Alas, the tree will not be stood up next to the big green guy, so we will just have to imagine what might have been.

The tree was cut in a forest along the border of Grand Teton National Park and the Bridger-Teton National Forest.

A story in the Nov. 10 edition of the Jackson Hole (Wyo.) News and Guide newspaper details the herculean effort it took to cut the tree and load it onto a truck – in one perfect piece.

An 11 year veteran chain saw operator, Dwayne Gibbons had the honor of making the crucial cut, using a Stihl MS 440 saw.

The top of the tree was attached to a cable from a large crane. Another crane stood by waiting to lift the bottom of the tree onto the semi-tractor trailer.

The trailer is so long – 81 feet – that several times on its trip to Washington it will have to have another small crane swing it around so it can make tight curves.

In Blue Earth, there has been a lot of concern about getting the tractor trailer and giant tree to the statue and then back out onto I-90 again.

Blue Earth Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Shelly Greimann says the crew moving the tree across the country have already used GoogleEarth maps to study where they can get into town, and where they can’t.

She thinks they may have to exit Highway 169 at the Shell gas station, and drive along the street past Wal-Mart, taking a straight shot into Giant Park.

Getting out might also take some hard study.

Then there is the question of security.

This is, after all, our national Christmas tree. There is tight security to ward off any attempts at terrorism, or just plain old vandalism.

The tree is spending the night in Blue Earth, so it will need a safe and secure place to stay.

Back to the Jackson Hole newspaper.

Pictures in the Nov. 10 issue show a huge crowd in downtown Jackson Hole watching the truck and tree as they leave the city to start its long journey east.

Another picture inside the newspaper shows the truck going on down the road – with the Grand Teton mountains in the background.

Pretty impressive sight.

There has been a lot of talk about the tree in Blue Earth, but some folks wonder if it will be worth their time and effort to see a gigantic evergreen tree strapped to a truck.

Well, just like a giant green dude dressed in tights, it is something one doesn’t see every day of the week.

Unless you live in Blue Earth. Or Wyoming.

 
 

 

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