It’s captured the attention of major media outlets such as Travel + Leisure and Country Living magazines, the Weather Channel and CNN, and even American Express is not leaving home without considering it in its seasonal advertisements. The Weatherford Hotel’s Great Pine Cone, prominently displayed on Flagstaff’s Discovery Map, has become a holiday tradition and a much-anticipated event nationwide. This iconic symbol of mountain magic is about to take center stage again this Saturday.
Rising three stories above Flagstaff’s historic downtown, the six-foot tall Pine Cone will be hoisted into place like a giant holiday ornament to hang from the 112-year-old hotel on Nov. 26. Meantime, local businesses are encouraged to join in the festivities by decorating their own shops to coincide with the national Small Business Saturday movement.
In addition, the Weatherford Hotel and Flagstaff Downtown Business Alliance are calling on businesses, organizations and residents to embrace the holiday spirit and make the season bright again this year by sponsoring 70 decorated lampposts throughout the town.
“The nation has come to expect our community to take a lead role in ushering in the holidays and welcoming a season of peace and celebration,” said Weatherford Hotel owner Sam Green. “All of us have an opportunity to participate in this special time by giving a gift to ourselves, to our community and to our visitors.”
Volunteers will decorate lampposts in the downtown and Fourth Street areas on Tuesday, Nov. 28. The Flagstaff Downtown Business Alliance is counting on sponsorships to pay for the use of the city’s lampposts and decorations through $75 sponsorships.
“Sponsors’ names will hang like gift tags from the decorations,” said DBA secretary Leslie Connell. “Our goal is to have decorations in place to coincide with the arrival of Santa, the annual holiday tree lighting on Heritage Square, and our First Friday Artwalk on Dec. 2.”
The DBA will be attaching tags as fast as sponsorships come in. General location requests will be honored on a first-come, first served basis. Those interested in sponsoring lampposts may do so by Saturday, Dec. 10 through Flagdba.com, by calling Connell at928-526-2146, or by dropping off a check made out to Flagstaff DBA at the Weatherford Hotel.
The Great Pine Cone has become a New Year’s Eve tradition since 1999 when the Weatherford Hotel rang in the new millennium and honored the Weatherford Hotel’s 100-year anniversary. Since then, thousands gather in the streets for the countdown into the New Year and the lowering of the Pine Cone.
“As we’ve done in the past, we’ll have two lowerings on Saturday, Dec. 31: one at 10 p.m. to coincide with East Coast celebrations and allow more families to participate; and, one at midnight,” said Green. “We’ll have an extravagant LED light show again this year at both events, along with fireworks sponsored by the City of Flagstaff. Also, long-time local musician Jimmy DeBlois will serenade the crowd from the balcony.”
DeBlois’ band, The Spokes, will be performing in the Weatherford Hotel on New Year’s Eve.
In addition, Fred Nackard Wholesale Beverage Co. will be adorning the sides of Flagstaff-area Pepsi trucks with banners announcing the Great Pine Cone Drop. Commemorative Pine Cone Drop t-shirts are available for purchase in the Weatherford Hotel lobby.
For more information, log on to weatherfordhotel.com or Flagdba.com. YouTube videos offer a preview of the Weatherford Hotel’s New Year’s Eve Pine Cone Drop.
Photo courtesy of dba