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'This tree is just sad': Community works together to save Christmas in Newport

After one resident stepped in to help, the Newport community is coming together to keep the town's joy and Christmas tradition alive.

NEWPORT, Wash. — Christmas trees decorated with many lights and ornaments spark joy for many people during the holiday season. But that joy soon faded for some Newport residents when they saw their town's tree.

The tree, with a few white, red and green lights hanging vertically from it, was a sad sight for some during a time that's supposed to be filled with the Christmas spirit. But that won't last for long, as a resident started a fundraiser to decorate next year's tree that turned into this year's town joy.

"This tree is just sad...we can do better," Fritz Turner posted on the GoFundMe page that he created.

On the GoFundMe page, '"Help fix Newport's town Christmas tree," Fritz asked the community to come together and raise funds for buying better decorations for the tree.

"Even Charlie Brown's Christmas tree looked better than this sad spruce," Fritz said on the post. "This is a disgrace to the good name of not only Newport but Saint Nic himself, and I won't stand for it."

Since the fundraiser was created on Dec. 3, it has raised more than $2,500 of its $5,000 goal as of Thursday afternoon. The funds are will be used to buy the tree's decorations and lighting for next year's tree.

However, after many residents and local organizations stepped in to help, the tree will now have handmade ornaments made by Newport Middle and High School students. The Public Utilities District (PUD) will be rehanging the lights.

This year's tree will be special as a lighting ceremony will be held on Saturday, Dec. 11. at 3:30 p.m. to bring the Christmas spirit back to Newport. After the GoFundMe fundraiser, the Newport Chamber said its members are also looking for solutions to keep the town's lighting ceremony alive.

The Chamber said in a Facebook post that the town used to have a lighting ceremony and events organized by the Chamber in past years, but the tradition has gone away due to a lack of volunteers. The Museum owns the tree, The Centennial Plaza is responsible for the tree, PUD is in charge of decorating the tree and the Chamber pays the power bill, the Chamber said.

The Chamber is looking for volunteers who want to be part of the Events Committee and keep the tradition rolling for years to come. 

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