50-foot Blue Spruce Christmas tree to grace Travis Park

by Ben OlivoNovember 9, 2018
People flocked to Travis Park for the lighting of the H-E-B Christmas tree last year. BEN OLIVO | SAN ANTONIO HERON

For the second year, the H-E-B Christmas tree will overlook Travis Park.

This year's tree is a 50-foot Blue Spruce, and comes from Northern Michigan near Lake Michigan. For many years, H-E-B selected a white fir from the Shasta Mountains in Northern California. The tree is scheduled to arrive at Travis Park Tuesday morning.

Once in place, the tree will be adorned with more than 10,000 red and white lights, and handmade gold and silver ornaments.

The 34th Annual H-E-B Tree Lighting Celebration is scheduled for 3-6 p.m. Nov. 23, the day after Thanksgiving. Activities include cookie decorating stations, holiday craft making, letters to Santa Claus, and live entertainment. As in previous years, Santa is expected to make an appearance just in time for the tree's illumination at 6:20 p.m.

H-E-B commits more than $250,000 each year to the transportation, decoration and lighting of the three, according to a press release.

As is the tradition in San Antonio, the Ford Holiday River Parade will begin immediately after the tree lighting on the River Walk.

In addition to the tree, Travis Park will be draped in more than 250,000 lights.

For 32 years, the H-E-B tree had been positioned in front of the Alamo. Last year, the city, H-E-B and Centro San Antonio decided to move it to Travis Park, 301 E. Travis St., which drew mixed reviews. City officials said the move placed the tree in the middle of Travis Park, where holiday activities would be held throughout the season—including movie nights, musical performances, storytelling and more photos with Santa. (He really likes San Antonio.)

But many people said the iconic image of a giant Christmas tree in front of the Alamo was a scene only San Antonio could produce. Later in the holiday season, H-E-B donated an 18-foot Christmas tree at Alamo Plaza.

At the time, moving the Christmas tree seemed extra controversial because it replaced the statue of a Confederate soldier, which had stood at Travis Park for several decades, and which was removed by city officials in the dead of night on Sept. 1.

Contact Ben Olivo: 210-421-3932 | ben@saheron.com | @rbolivo on Twitter

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