Kings Canyon National Park is one of nature’s wonders and it is in our own backyard. For the past 91 years a very special Christmas tradition has taken place at the General Grant Tree inside the park.
Back in 1924, R.J. Senior of Sanger visited the beloved tree. As he looked up at it, a little girl standing next to him said, “what a wonderful Christmas tree it would be!”
That sparked an idea. Mr. Senior was the President of the Sanger Chamber of Commerce. With the help of his colleague Charles E. Lee the two conceived the idea of an annual holiday ceremony.
Mr. Lee wrote to President Calvin Coolidge and in April 1926 the President designated the General Grant as the Nation’s Christmas Tree.
The Sanger Chamber of Commerce continues to sponsor the annual Christmas “Trek to the Tree.”
It takes place each year on the second Sunday of December at 2:30pm. The ceremony lasts about one hour.
This year’s “Trek to the Tree” is Sunday, December 11th.
The keynote speaker is Larry Powell the former Superintendent of schools for Fresno County. The Sanger High ROTC Color Guard will be on hand. The Sanger High Choir and Jubilation Singers will perform holiday songs.
Admission to the park is free that day. Kings Canyon National Park is located 55 miles east of Fresno. It can be reached by taking Highway 180.
Don’t want to drive? Seats are still available on three charter buses that will leave from the Sanger Chamber of Commerce.
The first bus leaves at 10:30am and will stop at the Belmont Country Club for lunch, which will include a Prime Rib carving station. (I know from personal experience, it is delicious!) Tickets are $85 for adults and $55 for children 12 and under.
The two additional buses will depart for Kings Canyon National Park at 12:15pm.
One will return to the Sanger Chamber of Commerce following the ceremony. Tickets for that bus are $55 for all ages.
The remaining bus will stop at Belmont Country Club for dinner. Like with the lunch option, tickets are $85 for adults and $55 for children 12 and under.
The “Trek to the Tree” is a wonderful opportunity for families looking to create a special memory this holiday season. It’s also a chance to check out Kings Canyon National Park dressed in its winter best!
For more information about the “Trek to the Tree” and to purchase charter bus tickets call the Sanger Chamber of Commerce at 559-875-4575.