Robin Lafon, of the Oak Hill neighborhood in Franklin, said Tuesday that recent problems with the tree roots growing into pipes was causing her and husband Tim to consider taking down the tree that has been in their front yard since they moved there 31 years ago.
A chance to become part of Franklin's history and the cries of "do it, do it" from the grandkids helped them make the decision.
"It was always our picture tree," said Lyndsie Lafon who said there was a photo of her posing by the tree when she was little. "It was probably only about 15 feet tall."
"It looks like the Grinch's tree," Robin said one of her grandchildren claimed as it was being taken down and lifted by a crane. "(I think) because it is flying through the air," she explained.
"It's pretty cool," said Robin who was reluctant at first but warmed up to it more as she watched it go into place in front of the courthouse.
"I never really thought about it being a beautiful tree, but seeing it in front of the courthouse and hearing people talking about how beautiful it is... it is beautiful."
Franklin events coordinator Ronnie Beith couldn't have been happier. Normally she would know where the tree was coming at least a month out from Light Up Night. But this year it was only last Wednesday she could finally exclaim "We have a tree."
Dan Weiland, one of the original architects of the tradition of bringing a giant tree downtown said he looked at dozens of trees, some on google maps and others in person. It wasn't until the Lafon tree surfaced that he had a winner.
Beith calls her dedicated crew of volunteers her elves. Paul Bunyan Tree Service, Klapec Trucking, ITC Crane and Whalen Contracting all volunteer their services to this endeavor each year.
Volunteer crews will be on hand Wednesday to begin officially decorating the tree with lights, which number in the thousands including 586 that twinkle, according to Franklin Fine Arts president Pat Dolecki.
"They were all replaced this week," she said after the new lights, ordered in August, were stuck getting to the states. She said they were due to arrive in September. But, like the tree, they didn't have them until last week.
The Lafon tree and its twinkle lights will get a chance to shine when they make their formal debut Saturday following the Light Up Night parade.
The theatre will also once again host an indoor Christmas tree display, which is expected to include more than 50 trees. On Saturday, the lobby will be open from 1 to 9 p.m. It will be available for viewing throughout the holiday season based on the theatre’s regular business hours and performance schedule.
Warner’s Bakery will give away free cookies and warm cider from 5 to 7 p.m.
The Light Up Night Parade steps off at 6 p.m. Local schools, bands, dance groups, service groups, churches, businesses and community organizations will build floats, march and perform including the Franklin Silver Cornet Band and the Franklin High School Black Knight Marching Band.
The popular Zem-Zems will be zigging and zagging in their motorized vehicles
New this year, the Franklin Post Office will gather children’s letters to Santa before the Big Guy makes his appearance at the end of the parade.
After Santa passes through town, parade goers move into position in front of the courthouse for the lighting of the Christmas tree and town followed by the fireworks blasting off from Fountain Park.
“Please join us on this magical night as we ignite the true spirit of the holiday season in the hearts, minds and souls of people of all ages,” Beith said.