Decorator of I-17 Christmas tree still a mystery - CBS 5 - KPHO

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Decorator of I-17 Christmas tree still a mystery

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A decorated tree in the median along Interstate 17 has popped up for the Christmas holidays over the past 30 years. (Source: CBS 5 News) A decorated tree in the median along Interstate 17 has popped up for the Christmas holidays over the past 30 years. (Source: CBS 5 News)
The persons responsible for decorating the tree each year have remained anonymous.  (Source: CBS 5 News) The persons responsible for decorating the tree each year have remained anonymous. (Source: CBS 5 News)
BLACK CANYON CITY, AZ (CBS5) -

Each night on CBS5 News at 10 p.m. this week, we're highlighting an Arizona Christmas tradition or legend.

Monday, it's a mystery tree.

Chances are, if you've driven from the Valley to northern Arizona in December, you've seen it from Interstate 17.

The question is: Who decorates it every year?

"We were driving along and all of a sudden we saw this Christmas tree all decorated and it was like a little surprise," said Lisa Symonds, of Gilbert, about her trip up to Prescott Monday.

Each December, for about 30 years now, someone has decorated a tree in the median of I-17  - just north of Sunset Point near Milepost 254.

"I was wondering who did this, and were they really sneaky?" asked Symonds. "Did they do it at night time when no one was there?"

The star-topped Christmas tree is adorned with glass ornaments, stuffed animals, flags, bells and bows. It's also draped with tinsel-garland.

"We see it every year," said Jeff Chastain, of Flagstaff. "Every holiday it's changing and it's very elaborate."

Clearly, a lot of work goes into putting the decorations up and taking them down.

Amazingly, no one has ever been caught in the act.

As for who does it, people have their suspicions.

"We've heard a few rumors," said Tommy Meredith, of Prescott. "Transportation people, ADOT people and so forth."

Others suspect law enforcement of being the mystery decorators.

But, for now, no one is taking credit.

"I really don't know who does it," said Chastain. "I just see it and look at it and say it looks nice and keep on going."

If you know who the mystery decorator or decorators are, hit the CBS 5 News Action Button and let us know.

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