Tree of lights to brighten Exeter holidays

Exeter opts for strings of lights instead of cutting down a healthy tree in a forest of dying trees


EXETER – O Christmas tree … Oh, no Christmas tree?

Residents might be surprised to find that there is no fresh cut fir tree standing proud in the middle of the roundabout at the intersection of Rocky Hill Drive and Pine and C streets. Instead, there is a tightly strung, brightly flung glow of lights in the shape of a Christmas tree. Public Works Director Daymon Qualls said there was a very good reason for the change.

Qualls, who coordinates the annual tree at the intersection, said he was approached a month ago by Mikey Hirni about this year’s tree. As chairman of the Exeter Lions Club’s Christmas Tree Committee, Hirni has been going up to Blue Ridge each year to select a tree from J.G. Boswell’s cattle ranch in Yokohl Valley. However this year, Hirni told Qualls it was getting harder to find full-looking trees due to the drought and the ongoing issue of tree mortality in the Sierra Nevada. Qualls suggested saving the healthy trees and instead hanging strings of lights to create the shape of a tree.

“I’d hate to cut a living tree down when so many of them are dying off,” Qualls said. “So we wanted to do something different this year to help reduce our impact on our environment.”

Hirni agreed, and the Lions Club began working on acquiring strings of lights to hang from an iron frame being fitted to a pole in the middle of the roundabout by Public Works crews. The strands of light will be about a half inch apart at the top of the frame and slope down toward the wider base.

“We use the tree for a few weeks and then throw it away,” Qualls said. “I like a fresh cut tree as much as the next person, but the ones in your house are specifically grown for that. These trees are part of the greater environment of Tulare County.”

Christmas Open House

The tree of lights will make its debut at the annual Christmas Open House in downtown Exeter on beginning Thursday, Nov. 29.

Every Thursday leading up to Christmas downtown merchants will be open late from 5 to 9 p.m. for an old-fashioned Christmas shopping experience filled with fire truck rides, carriage rides refreshments, and pictures with Mr. and Mrs. Claus at Mixter Park, located at the corner of Pine and E streets. There is already a bright red mail box outside of the Mural Gallery and Gift Shop for children to send their letters to the North Pole.

The open house will continue on Dec. 6, 13 and 20. And don’t forget that Exeter Gift Certificates make great Christmas gifts for employees, friends, loved ones, teachers, stocking stuffers and more! Available all year long at the Exeter Chamber of Commerce, located at 101 W. Pine St. in Exeter. For more information contact the Exeter Chamber of Commerce, call 559-592-2919 or email [email protected]

Christmas Parade

Santa Claus may not wear a cape or sport bulging muscles beneath his suit, but he is definitely the hero of the holidays.

“Christmas Superheroes” is the theme of this year’s Exeter Christmas Parade set for 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 7. The parade will begin at the roundabout at the intersection of Rocky Hill Drive and Pine and C streets and head west on Pine Street to H Street. Entry deadline for the parade is 5 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 3.

Parade packets must be picked up at the Recreation Office, 137 N. F St., after 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 5. For more information, call 559-592-5262.

Spirit of the Holidays

The Exeter Kiwanis Club presents its 27th annual Spirit of the Holidays wine tasting as well as Christmas tree and silent auction event from 5-8 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 1 at Exeter Veteran’s Memorial Building, 324 N. Kaweah Ave. in Exeter.

Enjoy premium wine, raffle, silent auction, whiskey tasting and more. Tickets are $60 per person and are available from an Exeter Kiwanis Club member, at the Exeter Chamber of Commerce, 101 W. Pine St., Exeter CA  93221, or online at

For more information, call 559-592-2919.

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