2019 marks the 25th anniversary of the annual Heritage Tree Lighting Ceremony! So what better way to commemorate the occasion than with a design contest! We’re asking residents of Encinitas to submit their best tree-topper ideas by June 30th.
Encinitas’ famed Heritage tree was planted in 1952 by two brothers, Peter and John Danforth. The now 87’ tall Norfolk Pine, located at 4th Street and C Street above Moonlight Beach, was designated by the City of Encinitas as a “Heritage Tree” in 2011, the second tree in Encinitas to achieve this protected status. Today the tree is adorned once a year with LED lights, then lit up on a Friday, the day before the city’s annual Christmas parade, signifying the official beginning of the city’s annual holiday season. The Encinitas Historical Society serves as the event’s official sponsor.
Starting in 1994, local long-time resident, Luis Ortiz, was inspired to light up the tree. Approaching the Danforth family, he was given permission to string lights on the tree. Luis donated his time and money, along with donations from the community and labor from his local buddies, to start what has now become an annual Encinitas tradition. Luis kept at it, reaching out to the community to keep the tradition going, annually raising funds and donations of labor and equipment to light up the tree. He recruited neighbors and merchants to support the effort, an effort that has grown into the annual tradition it has become.
Helping Luis behind the scenes for nearly twenty years, Jim Filanc took over event management and emcee duties in 2015. He collaborated with the Encinitas Historical Society to serve as the event’s official sponsor. In 2017, the Encinitas Historical Society raised $24,000 to pay for a permanent power supply, saving on annual operating costs. As a result, the Heritage tree now has its own address, 406 4th Street. Today, the event has grown to include local chorales, musicians and school choirs, with crowds swelling to nearly five hundred.
The application and instructions can be found in link below: