Hurricane Sandy left Downtown Manchester largely unscathed - with one exception: the downtown community Christmas tree.
The 37-foot tree has grown with love for more than a decade. Then the Grinch (Sandy) came along…and wiped out about 15 feet from the top of the tree.
Coming just before the holiday season and the annual Downtown Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, the storm damage presented a conundrum for the Downtown District Special Services District and St. James Church. Take down the tree? Use a smaller one? Or just follow in the footsteps of Scrooge and say “ba-humbug.”
Like the Charlie Brown gang, the Downtown District and St. James Church decided to make the best of the situation and decorate the much shorter Christmas tree.
"Many of our businesses told us that having the community Christmas tree alight during the holiday season - no matter what its size and shape - is an important reminder of the spirit of the holidays," said Downtown District Chairperson Ed Firestone.
Firestone hopes that someone from the community will step forward to donate a large tree that can be planted in the Spring.
And so the Charlie Brown tree will be lit by the downtown Charlie B gang in Manchester. The annual lighting will still take place on Thursday, November 29 at 6:45pm on the lawn of St. James Church in Manchester.
It won't be a perfect tree, like many of us it is a little the worse for weather, but the spirit it represents is strong and it can still light up a cold winter night.
HISTORY OF THE TREE
Located at the midpoint of the historic downtown on the lawn of St. James Church, the stately Norwegian Spruce has stood vigil at the start and finish of the Manchester Road Race and marked the beginning of the holiday season by coming alight at the annual Downtown Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony produced by the Downtown Manchester Special Services District.
The tree is a true Manchester transplant. Approximately 10 years ago the blue spruce located in front of the St. James Rectory became too tall to decorate for the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony. The Downtown District put out a call for a mature tree that could be transplanted. A South Manchester family answered the call, donating the 15 ft. tree that had outgrown its home in their front yard. The tree was moved to the lawn of St. James Church in 2001. Until Hurricane Sandy hit, the tree continued to grow – rising to a height of 37 feet.
Thursday, November 29, 2012
Downtown Manchester Christmas Tree Lighting 6:45 PM to 7:45 PM, Lawn of St. James Church, 896 Main St., Manchester Santa kicks - off the downtown holiday season and lights the Downtown Christmas Tree. Master of Ceremonies is WTIC AM Morning Sportscaster, Scott Gray. Performances by Summit Singers, Silk City Barbershop Chorus, Ensemble from the Salvation Army Band, community carol sing, strolling costume characters, and arrival of Santa via Town of Manchester Fire/Rescue/EMS vehicle. Toy collection to benefit the Blue Angels Foundation Holiday Party. For weather related cancellation tune to the WTIC Storm Center at WTIC NewsTalk 1080. Extreme weather date: Friday, Nov. 30. For info call the Downtown Manchester Special Services District (860) 645-2101 or visit www.downtownmanchester.org.