Kiwanis Tree Blessing signals start of Hermosa holiday festivities

Kiwanis president George Barks and Reverend Michael K. Courey at the 33rd annual Kiwanis Holiday tree lot, last Friday.


Pandemic restrictions almost cancelled the annual Hermosa Beach Kiwanis Christmas Tree Lot for the first time since it began 33 years ago. 

However, with mask and distancing guidelines in place, the month-long Christmas tree sale was approved by county officials. 

On the morning after Thanksgiving, Reverend Michael K. Courey from the St. Katherine Greek Orthodox Church in Redondo Beach, blessed the trees in the traditional ceremony that marks the opening of the lot. 

A dozen Kiwanis members gathered as Rev. Courey said a brief prayer in Greek before translating it and then walking around the lot to sprinkle holy water on each Christmas Tree.

Rev. Michael K. Courey from the St. Katherine Greek Orthodox Church blesses the trees at the Kiwanis 33rd annual holiday tree lot on Friday. Photos


The Christmas tree lot brings in more money for local charities and nonprofits than any other Kiwanis event, according to President of the Hermosa Kiwanis Club and former Mayor George Barks.

“This is our major fundraiser,” Barks said. “All the money goes to charities in the South Bay.”

The charities include the Hermosa Beach Little League, Art Walk, Beach Cities Toy Drive, Girl/Boy scouts and the area parks and Hermosa schools.

This year the lot has trees from Oregon and Washington State, including Premium Nordmanns, Douglas Firs, Live Trees, Monterey Pines, Leyland Cypress and Rosemary trees. Wreaths, Garlands and other tree accessories are also available. 

The lot is also benefiting long time local business Bell Event Services, which produces events such as the Hermosa Fiestas. Almost all of his events have been cancelled because of the pandemic.

“It was touch and go for a while,” said owner Michael Bell of Bell Event Services. “We had to pivot to stay in business. If it wasn’t for this lot my company wouldn’t exist anymore. I’m thankful to be here. My business and employees still have jobs because of it.” ER


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