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Rich's Great Tree


Rich's Great Tree

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The Rich's Great Tree is a live, life-size, outdoor Christmas tree that has been an Atlanta tradition since 1947. That year, the Rich's department store put a large pine tree atop its downtown store, lighting it on Thanksgiving night.

It later included the Pink Pig named Priscilla, a carnival ride of sorts around the store's toy department. A second one, named Percival, was later added on the roof, around the base of the tree. Riders got a sticker that said "I rode the Pink Pig" when riding either one, inspiring the book I Rode the Pink Pig: Atlanta's Favorite Christmas Tradition. The ride moved to the Festival of Trees in the 1990s, and resided at the Atlanta History Center until it was brought back to the tree site in 2004.

After the Rich's chain was sold to Federated Department Stores, it abandoned the store in the 1990s and moved the tree to nearby Underground Atlanta. Since 2000, Underground has also been abandoned in favor of Lenox Square, which is not near downtown or midtown. The tradition continues as of Thanksgiving 2005 as The Great Tree at Macy's. [1]

The tree itself is usually around 75 feet (23 meters) tall, and contains several miles of wiring, thousands of Christmas lights, hundreds of basketball-sized Christmas ornaments and mirror balls, and dozens of strobe lights for effect. It also has a huge lighted snowflake tree topper seven feet (two meters) in diameter. It uptakes hundreds of gallons of water each day (depending on the weather and humidity), along with bottles of aspirin to keep the tree fresh.

The lighting ceremony occurs on Thanksgiving night from 7:00PM to 8:00PM, no matter the weather; and is aired on WSB-TV 2. Christmas carols are sung by various musical celebrities and local groups, and at least one is usually chimed by a bell choir. The tree is lit on the highest note of "O Holy Night", and remains lit every night at least through New Year's Eve.

Originally, eight choirs sang from the Crystal Bridge, which connected all but the lower two levels of the downtown Rich's over Forsyth Street. One choir was stationed on each side of each of the four floors, ordered from bottom to top and alternating from side to side. Faux stained glass panels were put in the glass on either side (left and right) of each choir, giving the ceremony an almost church-like effect. Street lights were turned off in the area below so there was no glare for the thousands of spectators that gathered every year regardless of the weather.

In 2004, the tree from Snellville snapped about two-thirds of the way up while workers were attempting to use a crane to lift it from the ground to the roof. Since the tree was rather late in being set up to begin with (November 14th is only 11 days before Thanksgiving), a replacement tree (always selected in case of an emergency such as this) was being rushed in from nearby Lithia Springs. In 2003, it took eight workers three weeks to accomplish the massive decorating task.

See also

Home | Up | Santa Claus | Advent calendar | Advent wreath | American Christmas traditions | Ashen faggot | Christmas Bird Count | Bracebridge dinner | Bubble light | Christmas card | Carols by Candlelight | Christmas cracker | Christmas customs in Poland | Christmas customs in Romania | Christmas customs in the Philippines | Christmas dinner | Christmas tree | Christmas worldwide | Christmastime greetings | Festival of Trees | Garland | German Christmas traditions | Grand Illumination | Hanukkah bush | Holiday Trail of Lights | Hollywood Christmas Parade | Koleda | Koledari | Kūčios | Christmas lights | Christmas Market | National Christmas Tree | Nativity scene | Nutcracker | Christmas ornament | Pagan beliefs surrounding Christmas | Pasterka | Christmas pickle | Pumpkin pie | Rich's Great Tree | Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree | Royal Christmas Message | Santa Claus | Santa Claus parade | Santa's Grotto | Santon | Christmas stamp | Christmas stocking | Striezelmarkt | Toronto Santa Claus Parade | Tree topper | Twelve-dish Christmas Eve supper | Christmas village | Wassailing | Wigilia | Yule Goat | Yule log

Christmas Guide, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.

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