Patriotic pines: Roadside Christmas tree decorator goes red, white and blue for summer

Jeff Bobo • May 23, 2019 at 8:56 AM

CHURCH HILL — A Hawkins County man who ramped up his roadside Christmas tree decoration efforts last year is expanding his talents even further this week with a patriotic roadside display on those same trees.

Larry Williams has been decorating trees for Christmas for the past 12 years on Bradley Creek Road near the Carters Valley Road intersection just west of Church Hill.

This past holiday season, however, he more than tripled all previous efforts, decorating more than 70 trees, as well as adding lights to make the display visible at night.

That extra effort came following a medical diagnosis that inspired Williams to do as much as he can while he’s still able. 

His plan for Christmas 2019 is to increase the total to 100 Christmas trees and light up the entire hillside.

“We thought it would be nice”

But first Williams and his friend Sherry Bruce are transforming their former Christmas trees into patriotic pines.

This week, the couple have been decorating trees with American flags and other red, white, and blue ornamentation.

“We thought it would be nice to get this in for Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day,” Williams said. “I hope people don’t think we’re already starting on Christmas.”

What are you using for decorations?

“Anything red, white and blue to get people in the spirit of celebrating and enjoying our freedom that a lot of people have give up their freedom for.”

How did you come up with this idea?

“A brainstorm. I just thought it would be cool. It’s about the halfway mark of doing Christmas trees again. A lot of people like it so far. They come through and blow.”

Williams and Bruce are working on a section of Bradley Creek Road about the length of a football field. 

It’s much smaller than the area the Christmas trees covered.

They’re also sticking to trees closer to the road.

They need to keep the display closer to the road because it’s overgrown with vegetation higher up.

Williams said the reaction so far has been positive. Passing motorists “honk” their appreciation.

How much will you decorate?

“We’ve got oodlings (of flags and decorations),” Williams said. “We’ll flag everything we can. I don’t want to get into these (higher up) trees again. I don’t want to get into poison ivy, snakes. Just enough to get people into the mood.

What do you want folks to take away from this display?

“I hope it makes them think about what we gave up, and what a lot of people sacrificed their lives for. It’s good for Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, and then it won’t be long after that we’ll start on Christmas trees again. Around October.”

The patriotic display is expected to be completed by sometime next week. 

As for Christmas ...

Williams and Bruce hit the after Christmas sales for decorations in preparation for this year’s 100 tree quest. 

“I've got a storage building full,” Williams said.

“Thanks to Amazon and e-Bay,” Bruce added

“We should have enough to light up everything on the hill this year,” replied Williams.