Tent collapses, destroys Christmas trees in Salisbury

A local Christmas tree business is trying to find a way to bring back some holiday cheer after their tent came crashing down, destroying most of their trees.

River Ridge Tree Farm in Salisbury was severely damaged in the weekend winter storm. A $10,000 tent collapsed under the weight of built up ice and snow. The Christmas trees under were turned to twigs.

"We stayed up all Saturday night push brooming and sweeping off the tent and then we got ice Sunday morning," said owner Michael Blower. "It took the whole tent down and damaged about 75 percent of the trees under the tent."

Despite the extensive damage, Blower says they plan to stay open.

"It's several thousand dollars' worth of trees. It's possible that we can cut some of them down and smaller trees out of them once we can get under there and drag them out."

Blower has been selling Christmas trees on Jake Alexander Boulevard for seven years. He says their tent was not match for the foot of snow that turned to ice.

"We heard the poles breaking, so we ran out from underneath it just in time."

Fortunately no one was hurt, but inside the tent was left a mess. Three inch metal poles were bent like straws. Out of the 80 trees underneath, 60 snapped under the weight of the tent, including a 15 foot tree selling for $250 that took 16 years to grow.

"We were able to salvage a few of them but we're going to stay open and have a little makeshift Charlie Brown Christmas tree over here."

Blower works was a handyman throughout the year and says he looks forward to selling trees every winter. Although he suffered a loss, he still plans to donate several trees.

"The Salisbury Police Dept. and the Rowan County Sheriff's Department. We have already donated a tree to the YMCA this year as well and the Brookdale Living Facility off of 70."