Arizona lights up Tumbleweeds, uses for festivities


Posted Tue, Nov 1, 2011


Photo courtesy of iStock photo


     Tumbleweeds became an icon symbol of wild-west films, but now they have found their way into other areas of American culture. People use them in many creative ways for various occasions. Arizona takes such pride in their tumbleweed creations, that they will host a Tumbleweed Lighting ceremony Dec. 3. Tumbleweeds are made into the shape of wreathes, Christmas trees, snowmen and are sometimes used as accessories to costumes, becoming a symbol for American holidays.

     Members of City Council and the Mayor will illuminate the tree for approximately 12,000 spectators. About 2,000 tumbleweeds are collected to set up the tree along with 25 gallons of retardant and 25 gallons of paint. The event calls for volunteers to set up for the occasion, held in Chandler park, Arizona. This year is their 55th-year anniversary and admission is free.

     The rolling shrub that has long been associated with the wild-west has not always been a part of the western culture. Not a native plant to the Americas, the shrub was imported from Russia in the late 1800’s. After it detaches from its roots when it dries and dies out, tumbleweeds roll through deserts, highways or homes as we’ve all seen in western films — some likely starring Clint Eastwood.

     No longer confined to that role, tumbleweeds now play a different role in holidays like Christmas and Halloween. They are now gathered to use as decorations for the holidays or sometimes year round. They are spray painted to look like they have been dusted by snow and festively decorated. So next time you see a tumbleweed, don’t let it just roll on by and dry up this holiday season. Round it up, spray it down and go to town. It is free and easy.

     They have also become a source of artistic and creative inspiration. Tumbleweeds are no longer just a representative of western films, but other areas in American culture. Some people do not think that tumbleweeds need any decoration, but have natural beauty. Photographers, welders and artists use the shrubs just as they come are in nature; creating works of art by using them as subject matter. Tumbleweeds appear in many photos and welders make tumbleweed-shaped jewelry.


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3 Responses to “Arizona lights up Tumbleweeds, uses for festivities”

  1. Melodi Byerly Says:

    I thought this was a very creative angle to take on the Tumbleweed assignment. Good job!


  2. Kevin Rostad Says:

    Very interesting story. Never thought of using a tumbleweed to make anything, especially a tree. Nice job.


  3. Nikki Says:

    I really like your use of language. Very creative and readable. (By the way, I dig our matching stories!)


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