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Bangor’s holiday tree has special story

Bangor's holiday tree
Bangor's holiday tree(WABI)
Published: Nov. 23, 2021 at 3:59 PM EST
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - If you’re in downtown Bangor, you’ll notice a new addition to the city.

This year’s holiday tree has officially been raised for all to see and the balsam fir has a special story behind it.

You don’t have to go all the way to New York city to see an iconic tree, the city of Bangor has had its annual holiday tree for the past 26 years downtown.

“While everybody likes to look at the tree at Rockefeller Center on TV, this is personal. This is us. You know, I mean, this is our hometown, and this is what people get excited about,” said Aaron Huotari, director of Public Works.

But this 20-year-old balsam fir isn’t just a typical holiday tree.

“Even at the end of his life, he was enjoying something that he did planting that tree,” said Kathy Picken.

For Picken, this tree holds a special place in her heart.

“He got cancer in October of [2008]. Bangor gave him two months to live. We went to Boston and got 19 months, so we had a lot longer than what we thought,” said Picken.

When Picken’s husband was diagnosed with cancer, he decided to plants trees on their property in Levant just 18 days before he passed. Fast forward years later, what was once a seedling, is now a 35-foot balsam fir for all to see in Bangor.

Long time holiday tree volunteer Dan Sprague saw the beautiful tree while out on driving on Hogdon Road getting ready for the holiday season.

“I talk to Dan Sprague just via Messenger a little bit. And I said how did you pick that tree? I mean, I think of the whole state, why would you pick that one tree? He said I’ve walked, drove down this road for 15 years. My nephew lives at the other end of this road. Who was David McEvain and David takes the tree down every, wherever they cut it, David takes the tree. So he’s seen that tree grow for 15, well, for 11 years,” said Picken.

After nearly two years of the pandemic Picken hopes the tree is a reminder for all of us this holiday season to spend time with those who matter most, like Judy Garland sang, “Faithful friends who are dear to us, will be near to us once more.”

“That’s, that’s his tree. And a lot has changed this year. A lot of things that make you think about what’s important, but it’s not the gifts under that tree. It’s people being together,” said Picken.

The official holiday tree lighting celebration will be Dec. 3 at West Market Square at 4 p.m.

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