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Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016 12:05 am

Stars align for community Christmas tree

As a past president and founder of Downtown Springfield Inc., Dennis Bringuet of Ace Sign Company has been a big supporter of the organization’s community Christmas tree, which they erect each year in the Old State Capitol’s south plaza. Almost every year there have been logistical issues in getting an appropriate tree in place on time. This year, it was getting dangerously close to the scheduled lighting ceremony on Saturday, Nov. 26, and still no tree. “We were right down to the wire,” said Bringuet. With only a week to spare, Bringuet found himself on a job for Ace at the The Villas retirement center in Sherman where he was told a few trees were slated to be cut down. “Immediately, I looked at this beautiful tree and said, ‘Even that one?’”

The 18-foot-tall spruce was cut down and transported downtown the following Monday. Decorating the tree presented another crisis. “There’s a neon, two-sided star which needs to go on top of the tree,” Bringuet explained. “It’s really two neon stars which fit together back-to-back to form one big star. Well, during the installation this year, one of the stars got broken.” Bringuet figured he was out of luck but there was one glimmer of hope. “The neon stars were actually made by my grandfather in the 1940s, so as a long shot I called my father the day before the lighting and asked him to check his garage and attic. Believe it or not he found a star that was the same size!” The stars indeed aligned in time for the lighting ceremony on Saturday.

Bringuet reports that things are also looking up regarding plans for a permanent tree in the plaza. “Hopefully next spring we’ll be able to plant it. After that, the only challenge every year will be to decorate the existing tree, which would make life easier for a lot of people.”

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