Berlin holiday tree lighting honors those who recently died

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BERLIN, Wis. (WBAY)- Emotions were running high Thursday night in Berlin where a holiday tree lighting was personal for many who were in the crowd.

At Nathan Strong Park in Berlin there's 112 holiday trees on display, but each one was decorated by a different family, and some in honor of a specific person who recently passed away.

During a lighting ceremony t was a chance for Rita Rennert to reflect.

The tree she decorated, includes memories of her niece, sister, and father.

"It's sad, but it makes us happy that, we put on everything on the tree that they love. So, it's heart warming that way. It was pretty sad, putting on the ornaments but we're doing it in honor of those three, and we know they're looking down at their grave, proud of us," said Rennert of Oshkosh.

The event, called "Lighting the Park," is put on by a group called Achieving a Better Community.

The organizer, Harry Kwidzinski says it's something that started nine years ago.

"We started out the first year with seven trees, which was small, but the next year was thirty and it was 80, and then now we kind of tap out at 100, because the park is pretty full."

One of the trees is decorated by a local funeral home and it has decorations in honor of 60 people who passed away since last year.

Dave Barbola, the owner said,"It's a recognition and service to the community. We do a tree and light it up and everything and then the ornaments we take the memorial folders that we have for each and every family at the time of their funeral service, we laminate them and then we hang those on our Christmas tree and those are the ornaments."

If you would like to check out the display, the trees will remain up through the first weekend in January.