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Christmas lights home > Christmas lights in the news > Outdoor decor: Christmas comes to Bellingham Common

Outdoor decor: Christmas comes to Bellingham Common

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Outdoor decor: Christmas comes to Bellingham Common
By Teri Borseti / Daily News Correspondent
Monday, November 28, 2005
BELLINGHAM -- More than 100 locals came to the Bellingham Common Saturday night for the ninth annual tree lighting.

Temperatures hovered just above freezing and kids were bundled up in heavy coats, scarves, mittens and blankets, waiting as the countdown began. When lights on the tree and throughout the eight-acre Common were lit, a cheer from the crowd signaled the start of another holiday season.

"People in town make good use of this Common. They always come out for the tree-lighting and in summer they enjoy numerous concerts. Every year we add a few more lights and decorations so it just keeps getting better," said Steve Schreffler, chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Town Common

This year's official tree lighter was Gordon Curtis, a well-known resident who has served on several town boards. Curtis was elected by his peers to do the honors and before he began he wished that all children get what they want from Santa this year.

Giant wreaths were hung around the gazebo that housed the well-lit Christmas tree, and lampposts were draped in lights. Trees along the Town Common perimeter were decorated with lighted candy canes, snowmen, stars and bells.

The festivities were complemented by a series of holiday songs sung by the Bellingham High School Chorus which attended the event wearing red and white Santa caps. "Oh Christmas Tree," "Jingle Bells" and other well-known songs warmed the chilly air as youngsters waited for the arrival of the man of the hour -- Santa Claus himself -- who swept in on a sleigh with a police escort.

Senior Bettina Benoit said more than 20 of the 40-member student chorus volunteered to entertain the crowd Saturday and it is something they do every year.

"We'll sing 'Here Comes Santa Claus' when it's time for him to ride in on his sleigh," she said.

Chorus member and senior Emily Miller said she has been involved in all volunteer chorus performances since seventh grade, and this was her last chance to sing at the Common at Christmas time

"It's a little sad for me because I know it's my last time," she said.

Seven-year-old Roland Arcand of Hopedale could barely stand still as he waited for Santa. "I have to tell him that I want a new Thomas the Train Coach and I can't wait for him to get here," said Arcand.

His grandmother, Joanne Arcand, a member of the Town Common Board of Trustees, said her grandchildren attend the event every year and often come to summer concerts as well.

"We spend a lot of time here either in the playground or at an event. The kids love it," she said.

Her granddaughter, Alexis Kraal, 8, of Webster, said she was excited to see Santa but would be happy with anything he brought her.

As the chorus entertained the crowd, Joan Fantini, owner of Century 21 in Bellingham and employees Rosanna Blanchard and Jean Dacus handed out cups of hot chocolate and balloons, reminding kids they could have a photo with Santa taken at their office free of charge.

"We also have little bags of reindeer dust to pass out to the children," Fantini said.

Schreffler said the tree lighting is something local kids of all ages have come to anticipate.

"I've been involved with the Town Common since 13 years ago...We have a fantastic five-member board that keeps things running very smoothly all year long. The Common has also become a popular place to take wedding photos. It's a lovely spot in town," said Schreffler.

He added that vendors are not allowed to sell food at any of the events and guests are encouraged to buy snacks from several eateries located around the Common.

Sean Glennon experienced his first tree lighting and seemed to enjoy it. The 19-month-old sat in his carriage and took everything in with his parents, Chris and Laurie Glennon, who said he was too young last year to enjoy the event.

"We've lived here for five years and this is the first time we've come to the tree lighting. We thought it would be fun to bring Sean," Chris Glennon said.

Every night until mid-January the Common will be festive, with bright lights and decorations, soft music for those who want to take a crisp evening stroll through the holiday wonderland.



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