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Two Tree Lightings To Happen, With Modifications

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To host a tree lighting or not?

That has been the question for local organizers in recent weeks, as it has been for everyone else planning public events since March. Of the three local tree lighting events held annually, two will be presented very differently this year. One has been canceled.

Ram Pasture

Parks & Recreation Director Amy Mangold this week told The Newtown Bee — very excitedly — that there will in fact be a tree lighting event at Ram Pasture this holiday season.

“This time, more than ever, we want to celebrate the beauty and the tradition of the holidays,” Mangold said, November 17.

For that reason, a silent stroll is being coordinated for the evening of Friday, December 4.

The trees at Ram Pasture will be lit at dusk, and the public is invited to walk along Elm Drive and Hawley Lane to admire them any time between 5 and 10 pm.

As is also a longstanding tradition, luminaria will line Ram Pasture and the immediate area, including Main Street, Glover Avenue, South Main Street, and Sugar Street.

The Borough of Newtown is sponsoring this year’s silent tree lighting, according to Mangold.

For the public, the opportunity to honor or memorialize someone by sponsoring a bulb on either of the Ram Pasture trees or any number of the white paper bag luminaria that will be set up on December 4 will also continue. A $10 donation covers one bulb or luminaria; donors are welcome to sponsor as many as they would like.

Checks made out to the Park Gift Fund, with Ram Pasture Tree Lighting on the memo line, can be sent to Parks & Rec, 8 Simpson Street, Newtown CT 06470. Donors should include a note indicating their choice of bulb or luminaria, and who they would like honored or memorialized with each $10 donation.

Coupons with details will be printed beginning in next week’s Newtown Bee. Donors can also contact Newtown Parks & Rec at 203-270-4340.

Those who walk around the historic property on December 4 are asked to wear masks and practice social distancing, Mangold said.

The tree lighting this year will not include high school singers, local dance students, emcees, or even visits with Santa.

It will, however, offer the opportunity to pause and enjoy the beauty of an early December evening.

“We are all excited to celebrate this season,” Mangold noted.

In addition to the above plans, Mangold this week hinted at a new special event being worked on for the holiday season. Details were being ironed out this week, but the Parks & Recreation Director hinted with the following: “Think scarecrow competition, but holidays…”

Sandy Hook Center

The Sandy Hook Organization for Prosperity (SHOP) is also doing things a little differently this year for its annual tree lighting.

SHOP Events Coordinator Maribeth Hemingway, working with SHOP President Mike Burton, said this week that while 2020 means social distancing and face masks, it is nevertheless “that special time of year when we surround ourselves with family and friends.”

In an e-mail sent to SHOP members on November 16, and shared with The Newtown Bee the following morning, Hemingway said it is still time “to create cherished memories will last a lifetime. We know this season will be very different from years past and hope that the spirit of this season brings you peace and joy.”

The 20th Annual Sandy Hook Tree Lighting will take place on Saturday, December 5, at 6 pm, via Facebook Live.

“In light of the current COVID-19 situation and trend, the town does not and will not encourage people to attend and hopes that people enjoy our live Facebook celebration,” Hemingway noted.

The business group is continuing a newer tradition this year, that of adopting lampposts for the holiday season.

Adoption fees are $50 for a small lamppost or $100 for one of four larger posts or one of the posts on the Church Hill Road bridge.

Adoption comes with pine roping, a bow, lights, and a very oversize customizable gift tag to display from the post.

A decorating party is planned for Sunday, November 29, beginning at 10 am. All materials will be delivered to each post, so those who have adopted a post can work in their own area, eliminating the need to gather in a large group.

Members of SHOP will be on hand to demonstrate the best way to wrap a lamppost with the pine roping to withstand the windy weather of the season.

For those who want to adopt a lamppost but are not yet comfortable being with groups, arrangements can be made to pick up the oversize tag at PJ’s Laundromat. Once the decorated tag is returned, SHOP members will then take care of decorating the post.

To adopt a post or for additional information visit sandyhookvillage.com/adopt-a-lamppost.

Hawleyville

Hawleyville will not be hosting a tree lighting event this year.

An undated note on the Stony Hill 4 Corners Association website says the association — which had sponsored and hosted events in Stony Hill and Hawleyville, including the Hawleyville tree lighting, for ten years — has closed.

“The pandemic has caused us to cancel all of our community events, such as the Pancake Breakfast and Holiday Tree Lightings,” the note states in part.

A crowd stands next to one of two trees lit last December during the Ram Pasture Tree Lighting event. Tree lightings in Newtown will look very different this year, with one being offered as an ongoing five-hour quiet event and another being done via Facebook Live. —Bee file photo
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