A Windsor woman's disappointment over being told she couldn't decorate a scraggly-looking cedar tree at the Town Green has turned into a beloved community tradition honoring the late Peanuts cartoonist Charles Schulz.
Hundreds gathered Sunday afternoon at the Town Green to resurrect the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree Grove, which in its fifth year has grown to include more than 200 trees.
The 5-foot noble firs pay homage to the scrawny tree that a certain boy settled for in the 1965 animated classic, "A Charlie Brown Christmas."
Karen Alves said she started the Windsor tradition in 2009 after town officials informed her she couldn't spruce up the lonely cedar in the Town Green with a red bulb and a string of lights.
"That was it. I went to the Schulzes and told them the story. They loved it," Alves said.
Craig Schulz, son of the late cartoonist, said Sunday at the grove that his father thought Christmas had already become too commercialized nearly 50 years ago when the TV special aired.
He said his father would have loved the Windsor event, which reflects a more pure expression of holiday spirit.
"It's been a tremendous success," Craig Schulz said while his wife, Judy, and a family friend decorated a tree with Peanuts ornaments.
People paid $50 for one of the firs, which are situated in the Town Green atop donated wine barrels. The decorating that took place Sunday reflected the diversity that has become a hallmark of the event.
Church groups, businesses, schools, government agencies and individual families were among those participating Sunday.
Brent and Anna Guyer joined some of their neighbors on Wellington Court to sponsor a tree, which featured family portraits and a pair of blue and pink baby rattles for a neighbor who is expecting the birth of twins.
"We take care of each other and look after each other, and we love our town," Anna Guyer said.
Mary Putnam was with members of the Prayer Shawl Ministry of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, placing crocheted snowflakes on the group's tree.
Putnam said she's watched the grove expand every year. "I just love it," she said.
This year's event is expected to raise about $4,000 for the Windsor Educational Foundation, which supports all Windsor schools.
"This is what we need to build our community," said foundation president Karlene Rebich.
The trees will be lit Thursday during the town's official holiday celebration.
You can reach Staff Writer Derek Moore at 521-5336 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @deadlinederek.