The Bel Air Lions Club ran into another snag with delivery of its Christmas trees, but the stand opened for business on Sunday — albeit with a quarter of the trees they hope to sell.
Lions Club members are urging people to buy their trees early, since they don’t know when, or even if, they’ll be able to get more trees, Bel Air Lions Club President Dave Guzewich said.
“So the best advice is to get your tree while they last,” Guzewich said. “We are still trying to get confirmation on more trees due to the extreme wet weather up and down the East Coast. We have contacted several other growers and all have the same story. Some growers are trying to get trees from Canada to meet orders.”
While the trees were expected to be delivered Saturday morning, they didn’t arrive until late Saturday night, and Lions Club members didn’t want their volunteers to have to unload them in the rain, Dave Ellis, chairman of the Bel Air Lions Club Christmas Tree Sales Program, said.
The truck bringing the trees — about 430 of the 1,700 the Lions Club is hoping to sell — was delayed four hours in leaving its last delivery point in Roanoke, Va., so it didn’t arrive at the tree grower in North Carolina and get his truck loaded until 6 p.m. Friday, Ellis said.
Truckers must take a 10-hour break every 24 hours, so although the truck had been loaded and was headed toward Bel Air, the driver had to stop by 10 p.m. Friday and could resume until 8 a.m. Saturday. T
The truck arrived at the Lions Club lot Saturday evening, Guzewich said.
“I won't ask our wonderful volunteers to work in the cold pouring rain for two hours unloading a truck and then take more time to unwrap trees,” Ellis said in an email.
Guzewich said about 40 students from the Young Marines, Bel Air Explorer Post 9010, Boy Scout Troop 313 and Bel Air High wrestling, swimming and lacrosse teams helped unload the trees “on very short notice” — in 35 minutes.
“They are amazing. They really did a great job for us,” Guzewich said.
“On the up-side, the Bel Air Lions Club will have the freshest Fraser firs in town! The trees were just cut Wednesday and they've had plenty of water,” Ellis said. “The Bel Air Lions Club cup may be half-full with rain, but with all the problems encountered trying to get this tree sale off and running, something great has got to happen.”