Dear Holiday Tree Decorator:
The Venice Holiday Tree Lighting event, unfortunately, has been cancelled this year due to the damage done to the Monty Andrews Arboretum at Blalock Park from Hurricane Ian on September 28, 2022.
Some of the trees in the park were destroyed and had to be removed. Other trees sustained major damage. The Arboretum crew, along with the Public Works Department and the Arborist from the City of Venice have assessed the status of the remaining trees in the park and have concluded that it is best to CANCEL the Tree Lighting Event for this year.
Each year, when we hold the event, tree irrigation is halted due to electrical and extension cords being present. In normal circumstances, healthy trees can withstand water being withheld for weeks. After the damage and stress to the trees from Hurricane Ian, not being able to irrigate the park for almost 2 months would further damage the trees and we are in fear of losing even more beautiful trees in the park. There is also a safety concern that damaged or stressed trees could fall while people decorate or there could be tripping hazards from stakes and ropes that are supporting damaged trees.
For all these reasons, instead of having individuals decorate the trees in the park this year, VABI, (Venice Area Beautification), KVB (Keep Venice Beautiful) and the MAAC (Monty Andrews Arboretum Crew) will decorate the edges of Blalock Park so everyone can enjoy the lights as they drive around the park. The Bicycles International Glow Ride, the bike ride around the park, will still be happening on Saturday, December 10, 2022, arriving at the park approximately 7:20 to 7:30 pm. However, the park will NOT be open during the evening hours due to safety concerns.
We will miss our magical Venice tradition of decorating all the trees in the Arboretum. It is important to consider the trees and what is best for their health and well-being so we will be able to enjoy the trees for years to come.
We plan to continue our tradition of decorating and lighting the trees again next year when they will be healed and healthy.
Jan Lugar, Chair
Holiday Tree Lighting Committee