It’s like an olive branch. But it’s a 23-foot Christmas tree.
This week, Josh Graham and brother-in-law Garrett Deweese, owners of Josh’s Farmers Market, hauled the massive tree from a grower in West Jefferson, all the way down Main Street into Downtown Mooresville and to the corner of Main and McLelland Avenue, where the big blue “150” stands to commemorate the town’s 150th birthday this year.
It prompted at least a few double-takes and not just because the tree is so big …
It’s been a little more than a year since the Town of Mooresville took to Facebook to air its dirty laundry against the market, a longtime loved and local staple on the west side of town. The past year has consequently been marred by divisiveness and conflict, ultimately resulting in the resignations of several senior-level town employees, including the town manager and planner. Then in November, voters got the last word when they overturned practically half the town board in the municipal election.
A month later, the dust is starting to settle. Chris Carney will be sworn in as Mooresville’s mayor — the first ever from the west side of town — on Monday, Dec. 4. So will political newcomers Will Aven (Ward 2) and Eddie Karriker (At-Large). Eddie Dingler will also take the oath of office to represent Ward 1 for another four-year term.
With that, a new day will dawn in Mooresville. But hints of change are already in the air. Perhaps the biggest one is now standing 23 feet tall in Downtown Mooresville …
Graham and Deweese recently had the idea to bring a tree to Town Hall. Carney passed the idea along to representatives of Lowe’s Home Improvement’s corporate headquarters, who offered to donate lights and decorations for the tree. The mayor-elect also checked with town staff about placing the tree on the lawn at Town Hall. They said power in that area wouldn’t accommodate the number of needed lights but suggested using the corner of Main and McLelland, and they offered to bring a bucket truck and members of the town’s street and parks service crews to decorate the tree.
The spirit of Christmas and community was catching. Cole Richardson, owner of 158 on Main (currently home to the popular Miracle on Main popup Christmas bar in Downtown Mooresville), joined Carney, the farmers market and Top to Bottom Tree Services on Wednesday to help stand the ginormous live tree.
Bright and early this morning, town staffers were on the site, hanging 300 feet of twinkly white Christmas lights and the hundreds of blue, silver and white ornaments donated by Lowe’s.
Graham said he and the market knew it was time to put the past behind them. “We felt a great way to show unity and move past the last 12-plus months would be to pitch in on something special that not only Downtown but all of Mooresville could enjoy, and what better way than with a big beautiful North-Carolina-grown Christmas tree!?
“We see the light at the end of the tunnel,” he continued, “and we’re all ready to get some normalcy back. We couldn’t be happier to have Mayor Carney manning the ship, and we were glad to work with Lowe’s and the town on this project that will hopefully bring some happiness to everyone’s holiday season.”
Added Carney: “We are so thankful that all of Mooresville — from Josh, Garrett and Lowe’s, our largest corporate partner, to town staff in Downtown — came together to give all the citizens some extra holiday cheer.”
A tree lighting celebration is scheduled for tomorrow, Friday, Dec. 1, at 5:30 p.m. Rain or shine, the public is encouraged to attend.