By: Kaci Carpenter
When you sit back and think about the holidays, what is your favorite part? The presents? The food? The weather? Well, here in Enid it is all about the things that bring us together as a community and the memories that we cherish for a lifetime. Lucky for us, The World’s Tallest Christmas Tree does just that. Enid is getting the opportunity to host the tree for a second year and like many, I had so many questions! So, I dove into it and want to answer them all for you.
The tree is coming from an area near the Shasta-Trinity National Forest in Northern California. It was picked by a company that is used to assemble and decorate the tree out of California. They have been doing this for a number of years with trees as large as 125 feet so they have the knowledge of what it takes to select the best tree for Enid’s event. Last year the tree arrived on October 13th and was assembled at that time but stood for over a month before being decorated with about 10,000 ornaments and 20,000 lights. It took 4 days to decorate the tree with lights and ornaments right before it was lit on Friday, November 26th, 2021.
While last year the event lasted 42 days this year it will go for 40 days. It will be lit during Enid Lights Up the Plains event on Friday, Nov. 25th, and be turned off the evening of Jan. 3rd, 2023. There are a wide variety of events planned during that time and we encourage those interested to visit The One website at theoneenid.com or stay up to date on their Facebook page.
The reason the world’s tallest fresh-cut tree comes to Enid is because of a dream of Kyle Williams and his family. Thanks to the presenting sponsors, Jiffy Trip and Takkion, as well as several other businesses and organizations, they are able to bring this project to life for a second year. So essentially this project is privately funded. Their executive team is an incredible group of passionate and community-minded individuals that bring an array of talent to the project to make everything possible. This truly could not happen without their help. They have been such a blessing to this project!
Takkion, is the company that hauls the tree from California to Oklahoma. They work to ensure Takkion is onsite during the tree cutting and the tree is immediately loaded and starts its journey through 6 states and over 1,800 miles. Last year, due to a few delays, it took 5 days but still arrived on time. This year the tree arrived on Nov. 14th, after a short weather delay. It will require extra work to brace the tree to ensure it has a lesser chance of breaking. Then it will be assembled and decorated then ready for the One Tree Lighting on Nov. 25th in conjunction with Enid Lights Up the Plains event.
The Dreamer: Kyle Williams
Kyle Williams is the reason Enid is able to have such an amazing experience. He started his plan in 2019 with the hope to have the tree here in 2020 but due to the pandemic, 2021 ended up being the realistic goal. Kyle Williams and his family wanted to provide something special for our community and state. Not everyone has the opportunity to travel to the coasts to see the other large Christmas trees, so he wanted to give everyone here this incredible opportunity. His passion to bring the tree to Enid is Faith in Jesus and the celebration of his birth. He wanted to bring the community together as a reminder that the holidays are bigger than materialistic things. With the help of many volunteers, Williams’ vision started to become a reality. Thanks to his loving and supportive wife Carol, Nicole Winfield, the project coordinator, Don Rose, who headed up engineering, Jessica Nelson handling the events, Ryan Fossett for visual decor, and a few members of his family, Jordan, Angela, Matt, and Alex, this all became a possibility.
This year, there will be a large star added to the top, so he is hoping for calmer weather. Last year we had five wind events of 50MPH and higher resulting in a little work having to be done to fix the tree. Mr. Williams has the hope to bring the tree back to Enid yearly, but for that to happen, sponsors are greatly needed. I asked Mr. Williams what Enid could do to make this happen and this is what he said “We need businesses to help sponsor this event. Last year and this year we are deeply in the red but believe we can be revenue-neutral next year. Our goal isn’t financial, but simply to perpetuate this event and Lord willing bring a hundred thousand visitors to Enid this year, weather permitting, and perhaps soon, bring 100,000 to Enid on opening night. We also need churches and our civic organizations to pitch in wherever they can. Many already are and we are grateful. Our event awareness nationally is also so much better than last year. Our desire is that it will continue to grow and Enid, Oklahoma will be known as the home of the Christ Tree, the World’s Tallest Fresh-Cut Christmas Tree.” He also strongly encourages everyone to support the local and state-wide businesses that support “The One.”
The Lighter: Dr Lyntel Murphy
Dr. Murphy was asked to light the tree last year due to her very honorable background and being an amazing part of the Enid community. I asked her a few questions about her experience lighting the tree last year and how it made her feel.
“I was on Fall Break in Alabama with my granddaughters when Kyle Williams called and told me I was selected to be the Grand Marshal for the first year of “The One.” At first, I was stunned then as it began to settle in, I felt humbled. He had previously asked about my military career then he asked about my educational career. I started teaching in New Mexico, and the class of fifth graders I taught then are now in their thirties. When I think about that moment and when it was put on Facebook and the comments started coming in my heart was so happy! This was truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I did not take it for granted because this tree was so special! As the lights began to go up I felt like it was coming alive.
Many people have asked about the lighting of the tree but to be honest, what I think about is the night the lights went off. It was as if a part of my heart went with it. Kyle Dillingham and I were standing by the tree in the cold singing. Once the lights went off it went completely silent. Even to this day when I go downtown, I look over to where she stood for all those days. All the programs and singing, and community involvement were so good. Every night someone had something going on down by the tree. It was like a winter wonderland. The streets of Enid were alive and it was a contagious kind of happiness in the air. I loved the entire time spent with The One!”
Opening Night events for The One Tree Lighting
- The Schedule of events is as follows:
- 6:15 – Main Street Enid Parade Begins
- 7:15 – Opening Music
- 7:30 – Ceremony Begins
- 8:00 – Tree Lighting and Park Avenue Thrift Fireworks Finale
- 8:15 – The One Enid Band Christmas Concert
They have a large variety of events happening during the 40 days of The One Christmas experience. All of those are on the calendar on their website.
This year there are 3 BIG events that they are incredibly excited about:
- Christmas Cruise Car Show – Saturday, Dec. 3, from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
- Christmas Cruise, sponsored by Enid Auto Body, is a family-friendly event featuring cars and trucks from around the region featuring music, food trucks, and other fun activities. The Grinch will also make an appearance during the festivities.
All makes and models of cars will circle The One campus around Christ Tree and the downtown square before making their way to park along Independence Ave. for visitors to check out and enjoy.
- Christmas Critters – Saturday, Dec. 10
- Christmas Critters, sponsored by Brody Electric, is a family-friendly event featuring Express Percheron horses, reindeer, and other fun animals for the kids (and adults) to enjoy. Leonardo’s Children’s Museum will have critters and present an educational feature to children. There will be crafts, face painting, music, and other fun activities for everyone of all ages!
- Storybook Night – Saturday, Dec. 17
- Storybook Night is an evening of storytelling and characters coming to life. Storytellers placed across The One campus reading books aloud where guests can sit on a blanket and enjoy a story by lantern light. There will be face painting and crafts, and characters will be walking The One campus for photos and autographs