This year, even Mother Nature seemed to cooperate as The Fourth Of July Committee hosted Wilmington’s Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony on Saturday Night.
The sky was clear and the weather was just cold enough to remind us that Christmas is right around the corner.
Crowds of families began to gather on The Town Common at 4:30 p.m. to patiently wait for the big moment. With plenty of activities including hayrides, hot chocolate and cookies, a model train display, holiday music and carolers, there was plenty of holiday spirit to go around.
As in the past, a highlight of the evening was the annual ice sculpture sponsored by The Wilmington Chamber of Commerce. The final design is a well guarded secret and the sculptor worked tirelessly throughout the evening to complete the sculpture.
Not too busy to have some fun, however, he was overheard teasing anxious residents and telling them that he had “Paul Bunyan” in the works. In the end the sculpture took shape and a perfect replica of the Stanley Cup and a Bruins player was revealed.
Local resident Celia, 5, said her favorite part of the night was pretty simple. “When the tree lights, of course,” she said. Younger bother three year old Vinny was also looking forward to the lights but he also had another favorite. “I like the cookies,” he said.
While on the hayride, Wilmington couple Katrina and Rob Riley were happy to sit back and enjoy their first Wilmington Tree Lighting together. While Rob grew up here in town his wife, Katrina, is new to the community.
“I love the family atmosphere here tonight,” Katrina said. “I feel like a little kid in an adult body. Almost feels like I’m back home in Vermont again.”
Wilmington Town Manager, Michael Caira, also sees the strong community value to the annual event.
“The ceremony is a long held tradition that seems to increase in popularity each year,” Caira said. “It is yet another example of the strong community spirit that exists in our Town. These are the kind of events that make Wilmington special.”
Of course, no tree lighting would be complete without a special guest. Who better than Santa Claus to begin the countdown to lighting? Thanks to the Wilmington Fire Department from transporting Santa to Town Common he was, once again, able to delight local children and get the countdown started.
Like so many events in Wilmington, the Tree Lighting is a chance for families to come together and remember what our community is all about.
“Community groups working with the Town to provide an event for the entire family,” said Caira. “It exemplifies the uniqueness of our community much like the 4th of July activities, Horribles Parade, Easter Egg Hunt, Veterans Day ceremonies, etc. It is volunteerism at its best.”