A stampede at Blacktip Island’s Community Holiday Tree lighting ceremony Thursday night injured five residents. All were treated at the island medical clinic and released. (photo courtesy of KTNV)
Five people sustained minor injuries at the Blacktip Island Community Holiday Tree lighting ceremony Thursday evening after many attendees claimed the lighted palm tree resembled male sexual anatomy.
“We didn’t think it through, obviously,” event organizer Jay Valve said. “We used a palm tree this year instead of the usual sea grape tree, and on paper the lights looked lovely, with the trunk all bright, and oversized blue Christmas balls around the base. We should have put more lights on the fronds so you could tell it was a tree.
“Someone told us never to put holiday lights on a palm tree,” Valve said. “I guess we found out why the hard way.”
Witnesses described a chaotic scene following the lighting.
“We’d finished singing The Chipmunk Song, Jay flipped on the lights and all hell broke loose,” Gage Hoase said. “Most of us were laughing, but a bunch of people started screaming and running every which way.
“They were trampling each other, trying to get away, trying not to look,” Hoase said. “The people who fell down laughing got the worst of that. They’re the ones got hauled off to the clinic. We all needed a good, stiff drink afterward.”
The display shocked many attendees.
“The kids were excited about seeing the new tree, so we made sure we were in the front row,” resident Glenda Goby said. “Then the lights came on, and Christmas turned into a nightmare.
“I covered the little ones’ eyes quick as I could, but I have three kiddos and only two hands,” Goby said. “My youngest is still screaming. I’m still answering awkward questions. We expected a nice, family-friendly tree. That shouldn’t have been so hard.”
Some defended the decorations.
“It’s Christmas. There’s supposed to be surprises,” Wendy Beaufort said. “I mean it was awkward, happening in front of God and everyone, but it’s still quite festive. I wouldn’t accept any presents from under that thing, but, in a way, it sums up Blacktip Island life.”
The display has caused others to rethink all holiday decorations.
“Now people are imagining sex organs in every decoration on the island,” the Rev. Pierre Grunt said. “Icicle lights, angels, you name it, they’ve been dragged into the gutter. Jay and them really should have done some lighting test runs instead of going off all half-cocked.
“We even took the wreaths on the church doors, for decency’s sake,” Grunt said. “There were way too many people pointing and snickering. And taking rude selfies.”