No tree in Lancaster County impacts more people than the Christmas tree that is erected each year in Lancaster’s Penn Square. This tradition of course entails a succession of evergreens rather than a single tree. But beginning with the Lancaster Mayor’s Christmas Tree Ceremony on the Friday after Thanksgiving and continuing through the holiday season, the decorated tree is seen by, and no doubt uplifts, countless city residents and visitors.
Selection of each year’s tree falls to city arborist Jim Bower who follows specific criteria (not too big or small, moveable with minimal hazard, etc.). In 2018, a 30-foot Norway Spruce (Picea abies) from Manheim was set aglow at the mayor’s ceremony with thousands of people crammed into Penn Square. (The program also includes holiday songs by a tuba band and the skyward arrival of Santa.)
In 2017, Lititz’s Beth Forney and Randy Garner donated a 37-foot Blue Spruce (Picea pungens) which, because of its size, had been causing problems in their front yard. [The third and fourth photos are from “A Gift from Lititz to Lancaster,” by Laura Knowles, Lititz Record Express, November 15, 2017.]
For a clever satire on Lancaster’s Christmas tree tradition, see “Lancaster ‘Holiday’ Tree To Be Artificial,” People of Lancaster, Nov. 12, 2017.