For a local family, the massive noble fir that will be the centerpiece of the downtown Camas Hometown Holidays event on Friday night is more than just a tree.
Forty-five years ago, the seed for that tree was planted in the ground on a 100-acre family operated farm in Bear Prairie. With time, patience and care, it grew into a massive 80-foot-tall tree.
It was just recently cut, trimmed and transported to its final resting spot in front of the Liberty Theatre. Once it is decorated with lights and ornaments, it will be the focus of admiration and accolades at the popular community Christmas tree lighting event.
That tree was donated to the city by Majestyk Mountain Tree Farms. The business was established in the mid-1970s, when the property was purchased by Edward C. Wiemken and his son, David E. Wiemken.
“That was one of my dad’s passions,” said Edward’s son, Jeff Wiemken, who joined the family business 22 years ago and continues to operate the farm today. “He sold Christmas trees for a long time even before I was born.”
The family has sold Christmas trees wholesale locally and around the world, and in 2010 opened a choose-and-cut operation on a 28-acre section. In 2011, Edward Wiemken passed away. He had worked in the tree business for more than 50 years.
“When that happened it shut things down for a while,” said Jeff Wiemken. “We are in the process right now of redoing the farm and cleaning up and restarting.”
Despite these challenges, the family continued its long-standing tradition of donating a Christmas tree for the Hometown Holidays celebration.
Jeff Wiemken said schedules and other issues make it difficult for him and his family, including his 88-year-old mother, Birdie, to make it down to see the tree in all of its glory. But he’s hoping that will change.
“We are going to try to come down this year,” he said, “so mom can see the lighting of the tree and enjoy it.”
While hundreds of onlookers will marvel at the noble fir’s beauty and splendor, the Wiemken family will know that it is so much more than just a tree.