Oh, Tannenbaum!

The Great Tree Burn blazes In Tipp City

People can bring their Christmas trees to the Great Miami River in Tipp City to be burned at The Great Tree Burn

By Tim Walker

Christmas and the festive decorations this time of year bring along with it are always a welcome sight. Good friends and family, time spent with loved ones, carols and gift exchanges, all serve to remind us of the blessings of each holiday season, and the many trees, wreaths, holiday lights and poinsettias maintain in us a festive mood that lasts right on through the month of December. 

Then the needles fall off.

As 2018 approaches, the same question enters many of our minds: what, exactly, does one do with a dead Christmas tree? That gorgeous green fir, so full and resplendent in its tinsel and finery just a few short weeks ago, has been reduced overnight to a dried-up brown twig that’s a shadow of its former self and deposits needles on the carpet by the thousands. What to do? Carry it outside and stuff it into the garbage can? Tie it up and toss it in the neighbor’s backyard? Turn it into kindling?

Local canoe livery Adventures on the Great Miami has an answer to your perennial arboreal query. On Saturday, January 6th, 2018 they will be hosting the third annual Great Christmas Tree Burn at their 1995 E. Ross Rd. location in Tipp City, Ohio. Your no-longer-wanted dead trees, sans ornaments, can be dropped off any day from December 26th right up until the 7pm ignition time for the bonfire on January 6th, and the party lasts from 5pm until 9pm that day and comes complete with live music, food trucks, and fun for the entire family. They’ll even have firemen on hand to make sure everyone stays safe. 

“The Great Tree Burn is going into its third year,” says Dave Obenour, Event Promoter for Adventures on the Great Miami, when he spoke to the Dayton City Paper recently. “And it keeps getting more popular with each year. Let’s face it — the least fun part of the holidays is always taking down the decorations, taking down the tree, and packing away all the stuff that makes winter fun. Putting it away, and then realizing we still have three more months of winter ahead — that just makes it worse. So just trying to take that and turn it into a fun tradition in itself. You’re not just putting your Christmas tree out on the curb, you get to bring it to this party, and stand around this big bonfire and get warm and have a bunch of food and have a great time with your family.”

The Great Tree Burn is free and open to the public, and all ages are welcome. The local community has obviously embraced the event — at the 2017 bonfire, more than 40 trees were burned, and Obenour expects to exceed that this year. Area firefighters and other first responders will also be on hand during the event to ensure that the bonfire stays under control and that everyone in attendance remains safe.

“Chris Jackson came up with the idea,” continues Obenour. “He’s the owner and operator there at Adventures on the Great Miami, and it was something that he was wanting to do just as a way to get people to come out. It’s such a beautiful property there, the way the hills roll down this slope and right to the banks of the Great Miami River.”

As with any annual event that occurs this time of year, weather is a concern. “Last year, it’s true that it was bitterly cold, but we still ended up with a really nice turn out,” says Obenour in conclusion. “The year before that, which was the first year, we had unseasonably nice weather, but last year was cold. I think in 2017 we had about 40 trees for the bonfire, and we’re really hoping to get even more this year. You certainly get a nice flame out of it.”

According to statistics compiled by the National Fire Protection Association, between 2011 and 2015 U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 200 home fires that started with Christmas trees every year. These fires caused an average of 6 deaths, 16 injuries, and $14.8 million in direct property damage annually. 

When your family’s Christmas celebration is over, and all the gifts are unwrapped and you’re ready to ring in the new year, why not keep your family safe by taking the tree down a few days early and dropping it off in Tipp City? Then gather up your friends and family for the Great Tree Burn on January 6th — it sounds like a fun event that will warm you and yours up on both the outside and the inside. 

The Great Tree Burn will take place on January 6th, 2018, from 5pm – 9pm, at Adventures on the Great Miami, 1995 East Ross Road, Tipp City OH 45371. Admission is free and open to all ages. For more information, visit greatmiami.net or call (937) 623-1824.

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Tim Walker is 51 and a writer, DJ, and local musician. He lives with his wife and their two children in Dayton, where he enjoys pizza, jazz, and black T-shirts. Reach DCP freelance writer Tim Walker at TimWalker@DaytonCityPaper.com

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