Pictured is the crowd towards the end of the burn.

Hundreds gathered outside at the Lake County Fairgrounds on Sunday as the Crown Point Fire Department started the fire of the year: the annual Christmas Tree Bonfire Celebration. The celebration has been a community tradition for 20 years, symbolizing the end of the holiday season and the beginning of a new year.

The event has been a community outreach effort by Geisen Funeral Home with the help and support of the city of Crown Point. “We love seeing people gather to watch the fire. It’s a great way for people to get out of the house during this cold weather — there’s nothing cold about this massive bonfire," Larry Geisen said.

Staff members from Geisen Funeral Home served complimentary hot chocolate and popcorn, and people of all ages enjoyed the festivities. “This is so much fun for a family. You grab some refreshments, feel the incredible warmth and stand there, mesmerized by the huge fire. Love it," Crown Point resident Leah Johnson said.

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