What goes up, must come down – especially if you're a 100-foot Christmas tree in the center of a city.
Seen from miles away, Delray Beach's colossal tree took 350 people 30 days to build. That included the use of a crane, a steel crew, six electricians, two miles of electrical wire, 15,500 LED lights and almost 40,000 ornaments.
"There's a lot of care to make sure everything is perfect when you're putting it up," said Sarah Martin, executive director of the Delray Beach Marketing Cooperative. But when taking it down, "it's much shorter."
Martin says it takes seven days and requires 300 people to remove each of the tree's 3,086 branches. There's also putting away the 18-foot star and dismantling the custom-built Santa house inside the tree.
In Tamarac, it took 16 people more than 8 hours to build the 35-foot tree, the 21-foot Menorah and place more than 70 ornaments. Their artificial tree – with 18 bows, three birds, five snowflakes and 72 ornaments - will be disassembled in less time.
"Things look a little bare once it's down. It's kind of sad to see it go," said Kevin Long, a partner of Christmas Designers, Inc., which sets up and takes down holiday décor for cities and companies "But that's all part of the tradition of it."
Fort Lauderdale, however, won't feel quite bare. It plans to keep a gigantic fish display made of recycled bottles through February as well as some holiday lights along the beach. But the 30-foot tree and the 75 snowflakes that dangle from lamp posts covered in 300 LED lights will be removed.
For other cities, the task is not as great. Coral Springs contracts an outside company to handle the tree while two city employees spend about two and half hours stripping lights from the arches of city hall. In Pembroke Pines, it takes about six employees two full workdays to bring down its six-foot tall tree of stringed lights.
Most cities will start cleaning up after the New Year. And though it marks the end of the season, Martin says for her, "it's somewhat celebratory."
"It takes a lot of community effort … when you get to the end of it, it's more of like 'Wow, we did it,'" she said.
For those with real trees, you can drop your tree off at Broward's Chip-A-Tree program that recycles your tree into mulch. For a list of locations, visit http://www.sunsentinel.com/chipatree.
In Boca Raton, residents can drop off their trees at 751 Banyan Trail. In Delray Beach, recycle trees at Barwick Park at 4321 Lake Ida Road, Orchard View Park at 4060 Germantown Road and Knowles Park at 1001 South Federal Highway.
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