The seventh annual Holiday Stroll will take place Friday, Dec. 2, and Saturday, Dec. 3. It's a weekend of festivities that marks the beginning of the holiday season in New Canaan.

The New Canaan Chamber of Commerce and the Holiday Stroll committee work for months and months to put the details together, which include a trip to the North Pole to recruit Santa Claus, his reindeer and helpers, as well as solidify the entertainment, refreshments and the manpower it will take to orchestrate the weekend's celebrations. One component needs help from the community ­-- funds are needed to light the lights of downtown New Canaan so Santa will be able to pull the switch and ring in the holiday season.

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The town does not fund this endeavor. While they do absorb the electricity portion, the hardware and manpower alone totals more than $20,000, of which, in past years, came from merchants and private donors.

"People assume that the town has some secret stash that they dip into for events such as these," New Canaan Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Tucker Murphy said.

"Often it goes unspoken, but residents should know that it doesn't work like that."

A donation outreach is being initiated by the Chamber and the merchants of New Canaan.

All donations, big or small, are welcome and can be sent to the Chamber at 91 Elm Street, New Canaan. Checks are welcome, made payable to the "New Canaan Holiday Lights."

The money goes toward lighting, and adds up to a high amount.

"Approximately 150 hours of manpower (are needed) to light 50 trees with 400 strands of lights," said Rob Hutchinson, of Hutchinson Tree Care Specialists, the team behind the yearly endeavor.

Hutchinson began in early November the month-long project that includes prepping the trees and testing the electricity sources, which is limited, tricky and challenging. The main power source comes from the lamp posts that line Elm Street, Forest Street and part of South Avenue. Main Street now has new lampposts as part of the Phase III Lamppost Project spearheaded by the Chamber.

"We are up on the cherry pickers (trucks) for about 50 hours, on the ground for 100 hours, plus there's day-to-day maintenance while the lights are up and the break down in the end," Hutchinson said. "Not to mention the traffic control and police work involved."

Other costs include the lights themselves. Year-to-year replacements must be determined. Dale Carbonier, from Rand Insurance of New Canaan and a long time Chamber member/supporter, created "Bulb Blast," a yearly event that rounds up a team of volunteers, some of which are high school students, to test the lights at the New Canaan Fire Station.

Inevitably, lights and other equipment need fixing and replacing.

Those wishing to support The New Canaan Holiday Stroll and join in the holiday spirit can contact Tucker@newcanaanchamber.com, call 203-966-2004 or visit www.newcanaanchamber.com.