SHELTON, Wash. — The City of Shelton can boast a record-setting effort after lighting up 797 Christmas Trees on Saturday night.
The trees are part of a maze in the downtown area, and the Chamber of Commerce is using this opportunity to revive a bit of Shelton's history.
In the 1960s, when Seattle was hosting the World’s Fair, Shelton became known as Christmastown USA.
“We were the place where the most Christmas trees came from in the whole country and they would have railway cars full of Christmas trees leaving here,” Rachel Hansen explained.
At the edge of town, a large Santa sign welcomed everyone.
“It was up there for about 20 years and we had all this stuff downtown, we had a Christmas village,” Hansen said.
Over the years, forestry practices changed and Christmastown faded. Hansen thought they should bring it back with a bang or even better, a record.
“We got over 900 trees here but of that, we selected 804 that would be appropriate for the Guinness standards,” she explained.
They turned all the trees into a maze and they’re hoping they'll get a record for the most lighted Christmas trees.
A funny thing happened. The movement had a snowball effect and now inside a formerly empty store-front, there's donated craft-making, food, music, and Santa.
“It's like a Hallmark movie - I keep hearing I stepped into one,” Hansen said, laughing.
At their official lighting this weekend, thousands packed into downtown and there's been a steady stream of people and giggles through the maze.
They will soon take apart the maze so the trees can be donated around the community, but the town hopes the good feelings continue.
Hansen said there's been a lot of frustration around Shelton regarding those who are homeless and she believes this is helping bring people together.
“It is such a deep heritage and it is so wonderful and just for this month, we don't have to do it all year, but for a month we can all treat everybody as equals,” Hansen explained.
And guess who else is back? Santa is once again on top of the hill greeting people and giving Shelton the Christmastown name that lives in its history and clearly in the hearts of so many people here.