Second tree lighting in Margaretville this weekend

By Pauline Liu
It’s not enough for Margaretville to have one tree-lighting ceremony. Now a second one is being planned in as many weeks. On Sunday, one day after the village Christmas tree was officially lit with much fanfare, Andes resident Denise Norris has donated a 40-foot blue spruce from her property. The tree, which weighs almost a ton, has been erected in the Freshtown parking lot on the other side of Bridge Street. It was cut and trimmed by Jorge Jacinto and Norris estimates it now stands over 20-feet tall.

According to Marc Levenshus of the Shopmargaretville merchants group, the lighting ceremony will take place this Saturday, Dec. 3 at 4:30 p.m.

It is designed to welcome visitors who drive into the village by way of the bridge on Bridge Street. The organization is reaching out to the entire village and beyond for assistance in beautifying the tree by asking for donations of weather-resistant decorations to adorn the tree, so that this can truly be a community undertaking,” wrote Levenshus in an e-mail. The group is seeking donated ornaments no smaller than three inches in diameter as well as holiday lights.

According to Norris, she was happy to donate the tree, because she believes it symbolizes Margaretville’s recovery, since the flood of Tropical Strom Irene on August 28. “It stands where huge holes used to be,” she said. Getting the tree to its current resting place was a story in itself. “

Heavy lifting
They couldn’t just throw it on the back of a pickup truck. Sanford Auto Body had to come and carry it away on a flatbed,” Norris said. “I dragged the tree a short way with my tractor, but it broke the tie bar,” she added, to indicate just how heavy the tree was. Will she miss the tree? “I couldn’t see it anyway, because it was in the back of my property,” she explained. Sanford Auto Body service also donated its services.

Meanwhile, the bear statue in the Freshtown’s main parking lot is now greeting visitors by sporting a Santa hat over one ear and carrying a large American flag. Some of the trimmed branches from the tree also serve as a backdrop for the bear, which was decorated by Margaretville residents Tom and Connie Jeffers. The statue became a community symbol known as “the Freshtown Bear,” after it survived the floodwaters of Tropical Strom Irene, despite the fact that everything around it got washed away.

Working on details
The preparations at Freshtown’s parking lots were done without any prior publicity, because organizers were still working out the details. Nevertheless, the activities turned out to be traffic stoppers as curious motorists and passersby paused to find out what was going on. Organizers explained that Dorothy Maffei who owns Home Goods of Margaretville has been selected to perform Saturday’s tree lighting, in recognition of her tireless work in helping coordinate volunteers and relief efforts for the community.