Bozeman Christmas Spiders ends an era for a local firefighter

BOZEMAN- The world-famous Christmas Spiders have turned the City of Bozeman into a Hallmark Christmas movie.

This year has extra special meaning for one member of the Bozeman Fire Department who has been instrumental in hanging them for close to 20 years.

Travis Barton a Battalion Chief with Bozeman Fire is training his replacement, as he's getting ready to retire.

“When I started with Bozeman Fire January 2, 2001, it was the first thing I did,” Barton said,” I showed up at 8 a.m. and the chief said, get down there and take down the decorations.”

Barton was confused by the order from the Fire Chief.

“I had no idea what he was talking about, I thought it was a prank,” Barton said, “so here we are 19 years later.”

Barton says for him its all about spreading joy throughout the community.

“It’s pretty cool to have it last as long as it has,” Barton said, “since 1967 and we’re probably the only city left in us that’s still putting them up.”

He explained that they're expensive to hang, they involve shutting down streets and using cranes. But the City of Bozeman comes together every year and donates the manpower and the cranes to get them up.

“They feel very Bozeman… Bozeman has changed so much and it just continues to change,” Molly Stratton who was watching the spiders go up said, “it’s just one of the things about Bozeman that stays the same when they go up, it’s like seeing an old friend.”

Barton says the spiders will continue to go up year after year, he's in the process of training his apprentice who will take over next year.

“It screams Bozeman, we are the only ones that do it,” Barton said, “its just kind of your downtown cap during the winter season, so it’s pretty neat.”

Now that the garland has been hung with great care the city can celebrate with big holiday cheer, as one firefighter passes the torch to the next generation he’s left reflect on many years of dedication.

“It’s a great way to give back, I guess, I know the city has provided for my family for a long time so to give back, that’s pretty cool,” Barton said.

If you would like to see the Christmas Spiders light up for the first time this season you can stop by the Christmas Stroll taking place Friday.

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