Several members of the Twin Bridges community gathered at Jessen Park on Wednesday night for the Rotary Club Christmas tree burn and tailgate party, an annual event more than twenty years running that brings friends and neighbors together to start the New Year by setting their old Christmas trees ablaze.
As the sun went down, children of all ages laced up their ice skates and took to the frozen pond while Rotary Club members helped set up tables for a potluck dinner. With a splash of fuel on the burn pile and the touch of a propane torch, the bonfire lit up the park as the cold darkness of night set in.
Between the heat from the fire and the delicious assortment of steaming hot food, ranging from coffee and cocoa to multiple homemade chili recipes and hotdogs grilled on a pitchfork, the warmth of Twin Bridges community spirit could be felt radiating from Jessen Park as the icy Beaverhead River flowed quietly nearby.
Rotary Club member Frank Colwell said the bonfire tradition has always been a way of taking out the old and bringing in the new. He added that everyone who showed up received a warm welcome in more ways than one, no matter who they were or from what direction they came.
During a dark and often difficult time of year, the Christmas tree burn and tailgate party was just another opportunity to bring people together and reunite the close-knit Twin Bridges community. Besides, Rotary Club member Rand Bradley said of the once-decorated evergreens as they went up in flames, “it’s better than taking them to the dump!”