Holiday tree scores a new location

Sunday, November 28, 2010 | 5:15 p.m. CST; updated 10:21 a.m. CST, Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Addison Smiley, 11, looks up at the Magic Tree for the first time on Sunday. Smiley and her family moved from Kansas and hadn't seen the tree before. The Magic Tree is at its new location in The Village of Cherry Hill.

*CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story included the incorrect street name.

COLUMBIA — As usual, Columbia's Magic Tree made its debut in time for Thanksgiving Day viewing, covered in thousands of twinkling lights. But it has found a new home.

For the past 15 years the Magic Tree, a tree covered in holiday lights, was located at the home of its creator, Randy Fletcher. Fletcher lives at 303 Hickam Drive.* People flocked to the tree each year, which caused some traffic problems in the area.


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"The road was just getting completely jammed with people," Fletcher said. The lights on the tree were also adding about $300 to his electricity bill each month they were on. 

Fletcher, who prefers to be known as "Will Treelighter" in context of the tree, said the Cherry Hill Business Association approached him in 2009 about decorating a different tree that was located in their town square. 

"We didn't call it the Magic Tree last year," he said.

The association was pleased with last year's work and offered to host the same tree this year and pay the costs of lighting it.

"This year it's the official Magic Tree," Fletcher said. He positioned a sign in his front yard to alert its fans of the move. 

Over the past couple of weeks, Fletcher spent a total of 40 hours covering the 16-foot cherry tree with 37,500 of his own lights. The tree is located near the corner of Jubilee Street and Corona Road in the Village of Cherry Hill. About 50 feet across the lawn sits a sister tree. 

According to Fletcher, the sister tree, an evergreen, took about three hours to complete. It is covered bottom to top with 1,500 lights and has a few dozen claiming space near the peak. Both it and the official Magic Tree have lights that change color in unison from blue to green. 

The Magic Tree will have its official tree lighting during the Village of Cherry Hill's Holiday Festival on Dec. 2, but as of Nov. 23 its lights are available for viewing each night from about 5 to 11 p.m.

Fletcher anticipates that the Magic Tree will remain in its new location. He said he looks forward to it growing bigger each year so he can add additional lights. The 16th annual incarnation of the Magic Tree and its evergreen sister will remain up through Jan. 6. 

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Bill Fisher November 28, 2010 | 7:47 p.m.

Not happy about this. I understand the traffic and financial issues with the original location, but this just makes it seem commercial. I'm glad I got photos at the old location while it lasted.

(Report Comment)
Amy Vandergriff-Belcher November 28, 2010 | 8:29 p.m.

We just went to visit the tree. I agree that the previous setting was just perfect, but this is beautiful as well. I was a little skeptical until I got there tonight. It's in a park like setting with a gazebo and other decorated trees. Just a great spot. It will never be the same as the original spot, but for 2nd best, it's not too shabby.

(Report Comment)
Taylor Combs November 29, 2010 | 10:40 a.m.

So glad I finally went last year while it was at the old location. I think there was something so magical about the fact that it was at his house and in the middle of nowhere. You could appreciate everything he had to put up with.

(Report Comment)
Alisa Hoyt November 29, 2010 | 11:37 a.m.

This new location allows him to continue doing something he loves without being a financial or neighborhood burden. I look forward to seeing it in its new location.

(Report Comment)
Robert Partyka December 1, 2010 | 8:40 a.m.

It's 303 Hickamn Drive, Not Hickman.

(Report Comment)
Skyeblu Windchaser December 4, 2010 | 12:04 p.m.

The Cherry Hill Tree was beautiful last year. I enjoyed going to both. However every time I was at his house I wondered about what that must be like for the neighbors night after night. I think the new location is perfect.

THANKS WILL TREELIGHTER! You make my holiday better every year with all your work. I appreciate your tree.

(Report Comment)
Amy Kluber December 9, 2010 | 6:36 p.m.

I did a story on this tree last year, then called the "Tree of Lights." I am disappointed that the Magic Tree won't be in the original location anymore. Although still amazing, Cherry Hill's tree is much smaller than the original and doesn't yield the same wow factor.


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