BERLIN – The Town of Berlin is currently in the midst of preparing for its annual Victorian Christmas celebration.
Officially kicking off the day after Thanksgiving, work on the month-long festival is already well underway, especially concerning perhaps the most recognizable symbol of the town’s Christmas, the large tree placed in front of the Atlantic Hotel every winter.
“We’ll begin installing lights on the tree within the next week or two,” Tim Lawrence, the town’s utility director informed the Mayor and Council last week.
In advance of the hordes that annually visit the town, another detail brought up at the meeting was the condition of the streets.
“We’re going to need to start cleaning up leaves in town to get ready for the celebration,” Mayor Gee Williams told Public Works Director Mike Gibbons, who replied, “We’ve been using the street sweeper twice a week.”
The Victorian Christmas has become a familiar tradition in town over the last few decades, serving as both a useful boost to a slow winter economy and a reminder to all who participate of Berlin’s roots and the scope of its historic preservation.
“It’s a good time,” said Michael Day, economic and community development director.
Day especially pointed out the aforementioned tree, the lighting of which kicks off the celebration.
“It’s a big event,” said Day. “We need to close the streets for it.”
The mayor will light the tree on Nov. 26 with the ceremony including caroling and some special guests. Immediately afterwards everyone at the ceremony is encouraged to explore the town since many shops will be featuring artists and special food and drinks.
Before any of that can happen, however, the town needs to make sure that the traditional Christmas tree is ready to go.
“We’ve got a lot of prep work,” said Lawrence. “We usually put 200-300 feet of lights on the tree any given year.”
In addition to providing lighting for the approximately 20-foot tall evergreen, Lawrence and his team will also be added some light to the trees that run along Main St.
Lawrence briefly explained how the town would supply power to the trees.
“There’s a receptacle on the top of street lamps,” said Lawrence, “and we’ll connect the trees directly to that.”
Lawrence went on to explain how the lights operate with a photocell in place that can sense when it is dark and turn on the lights, making sure not to waste electricity during the day.
When asked if providing power for the Christmas tree/trees on Main St would stress the town’s utilities in any way, Lawrence laughed it off.
“The lights don’t pull enough amperage to barely turn the meter,” he said.
The lighting of the tree by the mayor is just the beginning of what is a month of special events.
“There will be free carriage rides, Santa on the weekends, an art stroll through town,” began Day, listing the large number of activities planned during the month long celebration. “The arts council does wreath making, there’s a Reindeer Run on Dec. 11, and, of course, the town Christmas Parade Dec. 2.”
Day added a Victorian Christmas brochure is now available at nearly all town merchants, City Hall and the Chamber of Commerce as well as online.