Good News from A Great City Haverhill, MA
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
Christmas Stroll Activities: http://www.haverhillchamber.com/index.php/programsevents/annualseasonal-events/77-christmas-stroll . 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 http://wp.me/p3wgPC-h3
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…..
(c) 2013 by Alison Colby-Campbell