TOLEDO (WTOL) - By now, you’ve probably heard about the famous Toledo Christmas Weed.
The weed started out as just that: a shrub at the corner of Secor and Alexis that most probably thought was an eyesore.
The Emrick family was the exception, and saw that the weed could turn into something much more with just a little love and care.
Think the Charlie Brown Christmas tree, plus a grass-roots giving opportunity. People have been bringing donations to benefit those in need, and collection boxes have been put in place.
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You’ll need to enjoy the miracle that is the Toledo Christmas Weed while you can, though. On Dec. 29, at least 30 local Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts will be cleaning up the area. They plan to be out there around 1 p.m.
Until then, you still have time for several activities at the Christmas Weed, including an appearance by lighted-up Jeeps from the Toledo Jeep Crawlers Wednesday night at 6:30 p.m., and caroling on Friday.
Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz signed a proclamation celebrating the Toledo Christmas Weed and the camaraderie it has brought to the area.
It reads in part, “Whereas, citizens of Toledo, always willing to come together for good, quickly decided to do what they could. From one tiny gesture, there arose such a clatter, that the Toledo Christmas Weed garnered national clatter...”
Mayor Kapszukiewicz even honors the spirit of the Toledo Christmas Weed in this video posted to the City of Toledo’s Facebook page:
Toledo Police are also getting in on the fun, while reminding drivers and pedestrians to be careful when visiting the weed and bringing items to donate:
City of Toledo officials are also urging drivers and visitors to be safe when visiting the Christmas weed. Do not try to take a picture while driving by the weed. City leaders say there are plenty of parking lots you can stop in nearby to safely take a picture.
Wednesday: Glass City Crawlers Jeep Club bringing lighted Jeeps to the area, 6:30 p.m.
Thursday: Pack the Truck food drive to benefit SeaGate Food Bank, 5-8 p.m.
Friday: Christmas Caroling, 5-6 p.m.
The Toledo Christmas Weed even has its own Facebook page, where fans can keep up with what is going on at the viral corner in west Toledo.
Making it even more tied to Toledo, there are plans for the Glass City Crawlers Jeep Club to bring their lighted Jeeps to the area Wednesday starting at 6:30 p.m.
On Thursday, a Pack the Truck event will be held from 5-8 p.m. A truck from Charlie’s Dodge will be present to fill up with nonperishable food donations for the SeaGate Food Bank. The truck will be in the Rite Aid parking lot, which is located at 5765 Secor Road, the same corner as the Christmas Weed.
In the Charlie Brown Christmas movie - after everyone had realized it “wasn’t such a bad little tree" - the kids all sang carols around the tree.
This is another parallel the Christmas Weed shares with the Charlie Brown Christmas tree, as a caroling event has been set for Friday at the weed.
You can head down to the corner of Secor and Alexis with Christmas Weed fans far and wide for the event Caroling at the Christmas Weed at 5 p.m.
The event, which also has its own Facebook page, has garnered many comments of people saying they will be there.
Caroling at the Christmas Weed is set to go until 6 p.m. But that’s not the only way the Toledo Christmas Tree is bringing people together.
People are even leaving donations for those who are in need this Christmas.
The city of Toledo and Keep Toledo Lucas County Beautiful (KTLCB) have put donations bins at the site of the Christmas Weed. KTLCB mascot Riley the Recycler placed the bins on Walgreens Corner, where they will remain through Christmas Day.
Citizens can drop donations of non-perishable food items, winter outerwear, shoes and other items that will be distributed to a variety of local charities.
Another Facebook page for the weed, West Toledo Christmas Weed, says any donations being left at the tree are being donated to charity.
And according to the Holiday Spirit of the Christmas Weed Facebook page, a bucket was left at the Christmas weed to collect donations for Leading Families Home.
City leaders urge you to be cautious when dropping off donations since the Christmas Weed is at a busy intersection. Some donations have fallen into the street, posing traffic hazards, while other have just been left in the middle of the sidewalk, not on the traffic islands.
And if you want to remember the magic of the Christmas Weed for years to come, the West Toledo Christmas Tree Facebook page says T-shirts will soon be available to order, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Cherry St. Mission at the request of Troy Emrick, the man who started it all.
The shirts will look like this:
“He’s been talking about it for years, how he’s wanted to decorate something random so when people saw it they’d be surprised. But we had no idea it would become like a community Facebook page and people would take Christmas pictures by it,” Troy’s daughter Alyssa said.
Big things come in small packages.