Puyallup Herald

Extreme Tree lights up Puyallup Valley for the holidays

Fantastic Rides manager Jack Karvia installs and checks lights last week on the 185-foot Extreme Tree at the Washington State Events Center. The Extreme Scream ride at the fairgrounds has been transformed into a large, colorful Christmas tree of multicolored lights.
Fantastic Rides manager Jack Karvia installs and checks lights last week on the 185-foot Extreme Tree at the Washington State Events Center. The Extreme Scream ride at the fairgrounds has been transformed into a large, colorful Christmas tree of multicolored lights. lgiles@gateline.com

It’s a Christmas tree that can be seen from nearly anywhere in downtown Puyallup.

The Extreme Tree at the Washington State Events Center has been a local holiday tradition since 2011.

The Extreme Christmas Tree is a 185-foot artificial Christmas tree that utilizes the framework of the legendary Extreme Scream ride, the tallest structure in the Puyallup Valley.

In 2011, the Extreme Tree started when Karen LaFlamme, the Washington State Fair Public Relations counsel, saw another event center do a similar style tree to ring in the holiday season.

That was when Alan Baker, the Fair’s facilities manager, and his crew comprised of Fair facilities personnel and Funtastic Rides personnel got to work. That first year, the Extreme Tree had six cables of lights.

The community loves it. It’s become a nice tradition already, after just four years.

Karen LaFlamme

Year after year, the tree has expanded, and now there’s 24 cables stemming from the top of the Extreme Scream. With each at 200 feet long, there’s 4,500 in cables of lights. The tree stretches to 45 feet in diameter at the base.

“The community loves it,” LaFlamme said. “It’s become a nice tradition already, after just four years.”

This year’s tree lighting took place Dec. 2, the first day of the Victorian Country Christmas at the Washington State Fair Events Center.

Upping the ante every year, Baker and his crews start in November by checking light bulbs and ensuring the spools of wire are ready to go to bring the tree to life.

“It takes 12 to 14 people to string the tree,” Baker said. “We use the car of the Extreme Scream to do it. It takes our crew about a full day to get it ready to go.”

4,500 Number of lights on the Extreme Christmas Tree.

Each year, Baker and LaFlamme have worked to make the tree and tree lighting better and better.

“We’re always trying to enhance it,” Baker said.

This year’s enhancements included Santa arriving in a horse-drawn carriage with Mrs. Clause to turn the key to illuminate the nearly 4,495 white, green and red LED lights. Promptly after Santa hit the switch, fireworks began shooting off the top of the 18-story structure. Following the 45 seconds of fireworks off the top, a two-minute firework show behind the tree on the roof of the game building surprised attendees.

Heather DeRosa: 253-256-7043, @herald_hderosa

  Comments