60 years of trees at the Y
Every holiday season since 1953 the Red Wing Family YMCA has sold Christmas trees.
Director Mike Melstad has been selling trees through the Y’s Men's Club (which recently became the Y’s Men and Women’s Club) since the 1970s and continued that tradition when he moved to Red Wing five years ago.
While working for the YMCA. Melstad said he became involved in the Y’s Men’s Club, which is how he got involved in selling Christmas trees.
Melstad said YMCA clubs have been selling Christmas trees since 1946 and they are now sold through clubs across the nation.
Everywhere Christmas trees are sold, there is a YMCA selling trees, he said.
Locally, the trees are located outside the Red Wing Family YMCA this season. This is the first year in this location, Melstad said.
The Y’s Men’s and Women’s Club typically sells around 400 trees a year, with all the proceeds going to back to the community through scholarship funds and helping kids go to camp, he said.
Melstad expects close to 40 volunteers will help sell trees. Families who volunteer bring their kids along to help work a shift and it’s a great Christmas tradition he said, adding it’s a great time to see neighbors and help the community.
“It’s a longtime local charity,” Melstad said. “And frankly, it’s a good time.”
The lot is open from 4 to 8 p.m. during the week and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on the weekends.
If people would like to purchase a tree at any other time, all they need to do is bring the tag to the front desk at the YMCA and someone will be more than happy to help them, Melstad said.
Melstad said the busiest times are traditionally the night after Thanksgiving and the first couple weekends in December.