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Stroll plans underway, funding for lights needed

Published 12:18 pm, Saturday, November 16, 2013
  • More than 60 New Canaan Chamber of Commerce members met at Bankwell's Elm Street branch Oct. 30 to plan the upcoming Holiday Stroll. Participating in the planning were, Bankwell Vice President and Branch Manager Gail Donovan, center, with Laura Budd of the chamber, left and Pam Pagnani. Santa also paid an early visit. Photo: Contributed Photo, Contributed / New Canaan News Contributed
    More than 60 New Canaan Chamber of Commerce members met at Bankwell's Elm Street branch Oct. 30 to plan the upcoming Holiday Stroll. Participating in the planning were, Bankwell Vice President and Branch Manager Gail Donovan, center, with Laura Budd of the chamber, left and Pam Pagnani. Santa also paid an early visit. Photo: Contributed Photo, Contributed

 

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The ninth annual Holiday Stroll will take place Friday, Dec. 6, and Saturday, Dec. 7, making the beginning of the holiday season in New Canaan.

The New Canaan Chamber of Commerce and the Holiday Stroll committee works for months on the event, which include recruiting Santa Claus, his reindeer and helpers, as well as solidifying the entertainment, refreshments and manpower it will take to orchestrate the weekend's celebrations.

One component, the lights of downtown New Canaan, however, still needs to be funded.

The town does not fund this endeavor. While it does absorb the electricity portion, the hardware and manpower cost more than $21,000, 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," Tucker Murphy, chamber executive director, said, "and often it goes unspoken, but residents should know that it doesn't work like that."

Donations can be sent to the chamber at 91 Elm St. Checks should be made payable to "New Canaan Holiday Lights."

"Approximately 150 hours of manpower to light 50 trees with 400 strands of lights," Rob Hutchinson, of Hutchinson Tree Care Specialists, said. His team works on the event.

He began in early November on the month-long project, which includes prepping the trees and testing the electricity sources. The main power source comes from the lamp posts that line Elm and Forest streets and part of South Avenue.

"We are up on the cherry pickers for about 50 hours, on the ground for 100 hours, plus there's day-to-day maintenance while the lights are up and the breakdown in the end," he said, "not to mention the traffic control and police work involved."

Other costs include the lights. Year-to-year replacements must be determined.

To donate or for information, contact Murphy at Tucker@newcanaanchamber.com or 203-966-2004 or visit www.newcanaanchamber.com.