With Thanksgiving taking place tomorrow and Christmas coming right on its heels just one month later, that means it is time for many to start turning their attention to the most wonderful time of the year. In the Pahrump Valley, the start of the Christmas season is one that is greeted with joyful delight but it wouldn’t feel quite complete without what has become a beloved local tradition, the lighting of the Community Christmas Tree.
The Community Christmas Tree has been a longstanding part of the valley’s annual celebrations for many years, thanks to the generosity of KNYE Radio and its host, Karen Jackson. Once upon a time, the iconic holiday symbol placed in the center of Pahrump was a real evergreen tree but there came a time when Jackson decided that a change was needed.
A real, fresh-cut Christmas tree the size of which KNYE Radio wished to provide came with a huge cost each year and of course, that tree would be destined to be scrapped when all was said and done. Not wanting to continue to waste precious resources, Jackson decided that she would embark on a mission to raise enough funding to purchase an artificial tree, one that could be used over and over again for many years to come. In 2014, the first artificial Community Christmas Tree was erected and to celebrate the achievement, Jackson also held the very first lighting ceremony.
Even in its inaugural year, the Community Christmas Tree lighting ceremony was a big draw for local families, who gathered the kiddos, all wrapped in warm coats and hats, scarves and gloves, and took them down to enjoy the magical atmosphere and snap some fabulous photos to capture their memories. Over the years, this event has only grown and in 2019, the last year in which a public gathering for the event could be held, Jackson reported that it was the best lighting ceremony yet, with hundreds of residents inundating the parking lot at the Pahrump Nugget, home to the Community Christmas Tree.
In 2020, the Community Christmas Tree lighting was impacted just like many other community events around the U.S. and no in-person event could be held. However, Jackson was quick to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic’s pinch on the event and she arranged to have the lighting ceremony hosted virtually on social media. This year, however, things are returning to a semblance of normalcy and everyone will undoubtedly be happy to hear that the Community Christmas Tree lighting will be taking place as a community gathering once more.
“KNYE is once again inviting our community to join us for the official Community Christmas Tree lighting the Saturday after Thanksgiving at the Nugget. Come help us do the countdown to the official opening of the Christmas season. We would love to have you and your family and friends join us for our community tradition,” Jackson told the Pahrump Valley Times earlier this week.
While the illumination of the Christmas tree will be the main feature of the event, attendees can look forward to a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus too, who will arrive in style on a Pahrump Valley Fire and Rescue truck to spend some time with the youngsters. Parents will be able to take pictures of their little ones talking to jolly Old Saint Nick as well as in front of the towering tree itself, which will be bedecked with twinkling lights and shiny baubles.
The weather will likely be a bit chilly on Saturday but there will be plenty of hot cocoa and coffee to help keep attendees warm, and cookies will be available to munch on.
The 8th Annual Community Christmas Tree Lighting will take place Saturday, Nov. 27 at 6 p.m. at the Pahrump Nugget parking lot, located at the intersection of Highway 160 and Highway 372.
Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at firstname.lastname@example.org