Families bond over burning Christmas treesSubmitted: 01/13/2020
Maya Reese
Maya Reese

Families bond over burning Christmas trees
ANTIGO - Antigo residents bid farewell to the holiday season in the way they know best: a gigantic bonfire.

For a few decades now, members of the Antigo community have undressed their Christmas trees and collectively set them on fire. President of the Antigo Optimist Club, Roger Fuller, says this tradition allows families one final moment to bond over the holiday spirit.

"A chance for everybody to get outside, and get away from the tvs and the inside," said Fuller. "Get your kids out, your family out and have a good family event."

The increase of popular artificial trees resulted in less and less people attending the local tree burning ritual. Fullers says there's another reason people stopped warming up together over burning tree ashes.

"The event has gotten smaller because people tend to..outside events are just not as popular as they used to be, so I believe events have changed that way," said Fuller. "We have less people coming to events like this."

Attendees are encouraged to bring non-perishable donations for their local area food pantry. Tim Sharon of the Antigo Optimist Club says they've been collecting donations for decades and will continue to do it as long as they see a need.

"I think there's always a need for people for food products that maybe some hardship that they cant afford, maybe a one time thing that they've just run a little short and don't have money for buying those extra groceries," said Sharon. "This kind of helps supply the food pantry to help those people out."

The Antigo Optimist Club continues to add new activities to encourage residents to still attend. It offers free snacks, hot chocolate, and memories that last a lifetime.

"The kids have a lot of fun. This year we've made some slopes in the snow piles here for kids to slide down if they want to bring a toboggan or sled," said Sharon.

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