I was looking at the pictures posted on telegram.com of the Christmas tree lighting on the common in Worcester. To be honest I have never attended the Christmas tree lighting in Worcester for two reasons. The first is that I am a Scrooge; the Christmas Holiday season just aggravates me because it brings the worst out of people. The second is because it’s at 5pm on a Friday. I’m sorry but like most people I have a job and to get to City Hall through the traffic and deal with the plethora of parking downtown for a two minute affair is pointless.
The very day that I was viewing those pictures on-line my wife and I took a trip up to coastal Maine to get away from the stresses that have come up over the past couple of months. After a stop in Freeport, we stayed at a B&B in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. The day we were there they were having their Christmas Tree Festival. During the day they had Christmas trees on display at a local theater and they were auctioning them off. They had visits with Santa for the kids. They have art exhibits on display at the library, where the town tree is lit. From there they have caroling led by a local brass band. Then Santa, Mrs. Claus and elves come and light the tree. But it does not end there, after the tree lighting there was a walk to the church where there is a live Nativity scene, because Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ. The finale is the lighted boat parade. People decorate their boats with Christmas lights and decorations and parade into the harbor. It was a very good experience, it got me in the mood for the holidays and it was fun.
Now, if Worcester did something like that I could totally be on board with celebrating that. It is totally do-able and could bring people into the city from other cities and towns. Worcester could not do it all in one day because the city is so spread out but it is something definitely can be done. You could have some arts exhibits downtown on the common, or if it needs to be inside you could utilize the DCU Center, Hanover Theater or any other venue downtown. Rather than doing the lighting on Friday, there could be caroling and ice skating (if that ever gets built). On Saturday you could continue the arts exhibits and any other form of entertainment and then at 5pm light the tree. The boat parade is also a factor that could be done during these two days. It could be done on Friday night or following the tree lighting on Saturday, or even Sunday afternoon and it could be done on Lake Quinsigamond. The logistics of such an event would totally need to be ironed out. But this is something the Chamber of Commerce and The Historical Society can work with the City Council to come up with. I purposely left out the Live Nativity Scene because God forbid (oops! excuse me) Heaven forbid we actually celebrate the true meaning of Christmas. But if that is the case, I am sure that Fr. Madden at St. John’s or Monsignor Piccolomini at Mt. Carmel would be more than happy to organize it.
With all the new building being done downtown, the city should try to attract more people downtown during the off hours, not just between 9 and 5. That is what has been hurting the businesses down there, the off hours when all the people are not working there. The City of Worcester needs to stop trying to be like other cities and create its own identity. Just be Worcester, let’s come up with ideas and events that are Worcester’s own and promote people to come into the city. People should not just come to Worcester to go to the hospital or the courthouse. Let’s do things downtown that show Worcester’s pride. Just a thought from a citizen that would like to not have to go to Maine to get into the Christmas spirit.
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