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Outdoor decor: Christmas comes to Bellingham Common
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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
"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
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,"
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,"
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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