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Christmas trees roasting on an open fire; Lake County event draws hundreds

Larry Geisen owner Geisen Funeral Home helps light tree fire with flare The Lake County Fairgrounds January 12 2014. |

Larry Geisen owner of Geisen Funeral Home helps light the tree fire with a flare at The Lake County Fairgrounds on January 12, 2014. | Jim Karczewski\for Sun-Times Media

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Updated: January 13, 2014 8:43AM



CROWN POINT — More than 100 people came out Sunday to mark the end of the holiday season during the 16th annual Christmas tree bonfire at the Lake County Fairgrounds.

Firefighters using flares walked around the giant pile of trees, igniting the kindling and setting the pile ablaze to the delight of the youngsters in the crowd who pointed and cheered.

“I can feel it from here,” said 4-year-old Tyson Abraham of the heat radiating from the flames that shot more than 20 feet in the air. His brother Zander, 7, was equally impressed.

“I think it’s cool,” Zander said. The boy’s dad, Scott, is a member of the Crown Point Fire Department and the family, including mom Pam and grandma Linda Abraham, loves the bonfire.

“This is an annual event for us,” Linda Abraham said.

Couples Brandon Halsey and Jessica Clark and Dee Samano and Jeff Halsey have been coming to the annual event since it began.

“It’s the end of the Christmas season — the grand finale, like a fireworks display,” Samano said.

Jeff Halsey said the first year they came they grabbed a Christmas tree from the curb so they would have something to contribute to the pile, but now they bring their own.

“It’s the best one yet,” he said.

Mark Baumgardner Sr., a Crown Point Fire Rescue division chief, said the event was postponed last week by the extreme weather conditions. There was a little concern today the trees would be too wet to burn after the snow and rain, but the wind helped to dry things out and get the blaze going quickly.

The annual event is sponsored by Giesen Funeral Home, which supplies hot cocoa and popcorn. It remains popular and continues to draw newcomers.

Kathy and David Bundy of Crown Point brought their children Emma, 7, and Evan, 3, for the first time.

“My cheeks are hot,” Evan said as he watched the fire burn.

Kathy Bundy said the family had intended to go last year but were unable. They were glad the event was postponed this year so they could attend.

“It was a beautiful day today,” she said.



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