The Heartbeat of Haverhill

Good News from A Great City Haverhill, MA

How Haverhill’s Christmas Tree Gets Lit

Despite the 50-degree weather, The Heartbeat of Haverhill sensed something in the air. Was that the scent of fresh evergreen? Suddenly, downtown Haverhill was beginning to feel a lot like Christmas as a perfectly shaped 30-35′ tree was hoisted into place in Washington Square.

For over 20 years, the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce has been coordinating with the Haverhill Downtown Association to treat the community to the Christmas Stroll and the landmark tree lighting. The Christmas Stroll is made possible through sponsorship donations of Chamber members and friends. A few weeks back THOH read the annual notice that the Chamber was requesting that residents submit photos of trees that they would consider donating. Each year the Chamber hopes for a large crop to choose from.

IMG_2222 Haverhill Christmas Tree 2013

Haverhill’s 2013 Tree of the Year was plucked from a Grand View Road property owned by Bernardo and Mildred Difloures. It beat out 22 other contenders for the honor of being our city’s official tree. According to Jen Cantwell, the vice president of the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce, the judging committee does an on-site assessment of the applicants using a variety of criteria including size, shape, and, most importantly, accessibility.

IMG_2231 Haverhill Christmas Tree 2013

A Tree Goes Down, A Tree Goes Up, all in a day’s work for the DPW

The chosen tree has a rock star-worthy entourage of about 20 people including crane operators, DPW workers, and police escort. First the crane is attached to the top of the tree as the base is cut. Then the crane carefully lifts the tree above obstructions like electric wires and buildings and lays it in a flat-bed. Once resting comfortably aboard the truck, the tree is transported through town. THOH watched as it was tethered in Washington Square this Tuesday afternoon with the utmost care and admiration from the DPW workers and the small gathering crowd. The tethers are long and taut and festooned with yellow warning tape “tinsel” to ensure visibility, and to keep the tree upright in all weather conditions (this is after all New England!) Next, the team heads to the bucket truck to string up to 10,000 lights donated by Home Depot in Plaistow (after first being checked by the Chamber to make certain one bulb doesn’t darken a whole string of lights.)

How would you like to untangle 10,000 lights?

Who is on untangle duty? All strings are pre checked and separated for easy access. (Maybe THOH is just a kid at heart, but we much prefer the vibrant mix of colored lights to the ubiquitous trend of all white.)

Saturday December 7 from 5-8 pm, the holiday season is officially kicked off with the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce Christmas Stroll. As dusk moves toward night and visitors have taken part in dozens of family activities (face painting, photos with Santa, balloons, sugar cookie decorating, and “reindeer games”), the evening prepares for its brilliant conclusion. The Christmas Strollers converge on the square where at about 7:45 p.m. Mayor Fiorentini and Home Depot jointly throw the switch and illuminate Our Tannenbaum. So if you see the proud parents of the #1 tree this week, please express The Heartbeat of Haverhill’s appreciation for their holiday spirit and their tree.

And may we ask a favor? Since THOH cannot be in attendance at the lighting, please take and add a few photos of the ceremony and the Christmas Stroll  in the comment section below of this blog so we can share the lighting in this post.

And now for the lights

Just add lights. Leave this to the professionals!

For the remainder of the season, the Haverhill Housing Authority manages the tree’s power supply, turning it off and on and keeping tabs on the tree’s condition. The tree is after all part family and part royalty, a tribute to the city, its generous citizens, the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce, Home Depot and of course, the Difloures family.  Haverhill’s holiday spirit (and the ten thousand lights) will most certainly ramp up the merry and bright quotient this season.

What a perfect tree

What a perfect tree

Christmas Stroll Activities: . Visit the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce’s Facebook page.

To read about Haverhill’s other tree sensation, check out this post on our Festival of Trees

And remember if you want good news about Haverhill,  follow this blog by using the link below (next to my profile pic) and then find and “like” The Heartbeat of Haverhill on Facebook.

And now the “After ” shot…..

Haverhill's 2013 Christmas Tree

Haverhill’s 2013 Christmas Tree

(c) 2013 by Alison Colby-Campbell

3 comments on “How Haverhill’s Christmas Tree Gets Lit

  1. Brain4Rent/THoH
    December 4, 2013


    Just a reminder that the following streets will be closed from 3:00 pm until 9:00 pm THIS SATURDAY for the Christmas Stroll (cars who park on these closed streets will be towed):
    Washington Street
    Washington Square
    Merrimack Street (from the square to How Street)
    Essex Street (from the square to Granite Street)
    Emerson Street (from the square to Bailey Boulevard)
    and new this year… Wingate Street (from Railroad Square to the Wingate Parking Lot)

    Traffic will be open in the surrounding areas and the bus schedule will pick up on Bailey Boulevard.

    Parking will be available in the surrounding areas (the lot behind The Tap, the parking deck on Merrimack Street, the Wingate lot, and the lot near Maria’s Restaurant). Additionally, discounted parking courtesy of the Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority will be available at the Granite Street parking lot for just $1 for the entire night. Please see parking attendant on duty for discount vouchers.

  2. Paul Paulza Greeley
    December 4, 2013

    Hey nice and maybe put this Paul Greeley Photography on info section

    • Brain4Rent/THoH
      December 5, 2013

      While all photographs on this blog are mine (Alison Colby-Campbell/THOH) unless designated otherwise, I was very pleased to have Paul Greeley step into my photograph of the DPW workers above. He is a recipient of the mayor’s artist of the month and is pictured bottom left in the group shot.

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Alison Colby-Campbell



Full-brain user demonstrating a healthy(?) obsession with marketing, promotion, writing, photography, house rabbits, the natural world, tennis, big and small problem solving, reading, hiking, HGTV and the flotsam & jetsam of everyday life. My three blogs Brain4Rent, The Heartbeat of Haverhill, Alison Colby-Campbell Photography are Wordpress based.

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