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New Mayors Tree comes to downtown
new deh mayor christmas tree main pic
A Great Bend Park Department employee installs a branch into the new Mayors Christmas Tree in the Barton County courthouse square Tuesday afternoon. The tree is 24 feet tall. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

Allison named as Christmas Parade grand marshal

Great Bend Mayor Mike Allison has been selected to be the grand marshal for the 2011 Home for the Holidays Christmas Parade, set for 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 26, down Main Street. The theme for the event is “Let it Snow.”
An administrative team from Sunflower Diversified Services, which sponsors the parade, picked Allison for the honor.
“Mayor Allison is at the helm of a bustling community that requires a man of clear vision to continue to prosper,” the team wrote in their nomination.
Allison has always been active in community and professional activities. Service to Great Bend includes support as founding donor of the Golden Belt Foundation and Heartland Cancer Center; past Cub Master; past president of Babe Ruth Baseball, Panther Booster Club and Central Kansas District Dental Society. Beyond the Borders of Great Bend Mike as been named CKDDS Man of the Year in 2000 and was on the Kansas State Dental Association Executive Board in 1975. He currently serves on the board for the Friends of Cedar Crest Association.
Mayor of Great Bend since 1999, “Mike has worked to keep Great Bend growing and vibrant. He believes a positive atmosphere will continue help local businesses grow; create jobs, attract new business, and new residents to the local area. Creation of local jobs ensures that the community prospers and provides the amenities that people want. Mike has worked hard to foster an attitude of partnership and he often is complemented on his ‘we’ attitude as he works to make our community a place folks, no matter their age, want to live.”

It isn’t your ordinary household Christmas tree.
The new Great Bend Mayor’s Christmas Tree rises from the center of the fountain in the Barton County courthouse square. It is an artificial tree that stands 24-feet.
City Park Department employees used a bucket truck and a ladder Tuesday afternoon to insert the individual branches into the metal and plastic hoop-like skeleton. It goes together very much like a tree at home and the limbs come stored in boxes.
It will have its debut at the annual Lighting of Mayor’s Christmas Tree at 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 26, before the start of the 2011 Home for the Holidays Christmas Parade, set for 5:30 down Main Street. This will be made easier since the branches come pre-wrapped with strands of light-emitting diode lights.
“When you stand up beside it, it is really tall,” said Terry Hoff, city human resources director. “It is nice, very nice.”
The tree came from the same California company, Decolight, that the city has purchased some of its other decorations.
“We’ve discussed for a while doing something more in the square,” he said. City officials did some research and found the tree.
At a cost of $20,000, it wasn’t cheap. But, “it’s something I hope the community will enjoy and appreciate,” Hoff said.
With the Trail of Lights and other decorations, Great Bend has long been known for its Christmas displays. However, the city needs to add new things to keep peoples’ interest.
“We’ve been looking at ways to do that,” Hoff said. New lights at park entrances and the tree are part of that effort.
In addition to the lighting ceremony Nov. 26, there are plans to have a special celebration later (possibly Dec. 3) to attach the tree topper, making the tree 27 feet tall. In future years, it will stand on a platform making the total height close to 30 feet
“This will be something unique,” Hoff said. He couldn’t think of another area community that has such a seasonal exhibit.
 The tree is designed for outdoor use and is pretty solid. “It should hold up a long time,” he said.