Friday, December 2, 2016

Windham celebrates annual tree lighting ceremony - By Stephen Signor

Last Sunday droves of citizens made their way to the Windham Public Safety Building where for the second year Windham held its second annual tree lighting ceremony. According to the stretch of vehicles parked along both sides of Gray Road, it was evident that this year surpassed the previous attendance. 
The activities began at 5 p.m. with caroling, compliments of Windham Primary School music teacher Nancy Cash-Cobb, who led the third grade chorus in numerous popular Christmas carols much to the crowd’s approval, while they waited for that magical moment when the tree would come to life.
“Cash-Cobb has been teaching at the Primary School many, many years. Some of these adults probably had her as a teacher from what I understand,” said parks and recreation director Linda Brooks. 

“We had a great time and were honored to be asked back again. The students looked forward to the opportunity and were very excited. I am proud of the way they sang and their stage presence. The Windham recreation department and library did a fabulous job with crafts, goodies, hot chocolate and, of course, Santa,” commented Cash-Cobb.

Meanwhile, inside the safety building people had also gathered to enjoy refreshments and for a bit of warmth complete with plenty of conversation, much of which took place in the long line of children waiting to visit with Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus. 

Outside, the holiday music continued to play via a sound system following the lighting of the tree. In the background, a decorated fire truck attracted all ages. But while every year these fire trucks are decked out with wreaths, donated by Staples Farm, this year introduced the presence of the South Windham Fire Department Emergency Response Truck. Its arrival was timely and difficult to miss, as department members had cleverly decorated it with colorful lights to mimic what appeared to be a sleigh and was carrying the Claus family. 

Amy Carter, wife of Windham fire rescue captain Alfred Carter was also there helping out and shared, “This is much more successful than last year. Approximately 300 showed up then and we didn’t expect that, so we didn’t know what to expect. So this year we prepared and planned a little bit more. This year there is more decorations, more food and crafts for the kids.” One of the crafts and most popular was a marshmallow challenge where the object was to build the tallest free standing tower. The food pantry was also there taking donations for families in town. “It’s awesome! It’s been great,” continued Carter. 

The hope was for this year’s annual lighting was to make this a bigger and better event. It came to fruition as an estimated 400 to 500 people attended and next year promises to be even more successful.

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