Wiscasset tweaks trees tradition this holiday season

Fri, 11/29/2019 - 7:45am

Wiscasset Public Works didn’t bring in little trees to light this holiday season, WPW Director Ted Snowden said. In a twist on tradition, the town has instead wrapped lights around its trees along Route 1 on the common and on the other side, starting around Washington Street, above the downtown volunteers decorated Nov. 23, Snowden said in a phone interview Nov. 26.

Maine Department of Transportation’s downtown project contractor, Pike Industries, was doing electrical work and then all the lights would come on, hopefully in time for Thanksgiving, Snowden said.

They did.

Phippsburg’s Edith Leeman liked the whole look. Out walking late Thanksgiving afternoon while visiting for the holiday, Leeman said, “I think it’s pretty. It’s quaint, like old-fashioned times.”

Appearance of the Town Committee and Friends of Wiscasset Village member Terry Heller said she had the idea to light the town’s living trees leading downtown and she approached public works the same way the Federal Street resident has before. She tapped the Texan in her.

From the help WPW gave her making holes this fall for daffodils on the common, to her input on the holiday decorating, Heller said: “It is the way of a southern woman to be sure they’re eating something when you want them to do a huge favor.

“I’ve been doing a lot of blueberry scone diplomacy for the public works crew lately. They have a lot of things they have to take care of around here and I was a huge interruption every time I walked in the door. So I made sure that I was carrying some scones.” For the 2,000 daffodil holes, she asked WPW if she could rent a trencher. “They saw immediately that I was going to get in trouble so they stepped in with their iron bar and a couple of large hole punchers.”

Heller figured that was good for about four dozen scones. She buys them downtown at Treats and Mammy’s Bakery. “(They) are my kitchen annexes.”

Heller said the department would have done these things, including the decorating changes, with or without the scones. 

“Ted and his crew are awesome people ... and I didn’t have to talk them into anything. They were already trying to make things work for people this year. We just talked it through.”

Previously, the town would buy little, cut trees and use small birches it had to cut anyway at the airport, Snowden said. With all the icy mornings the department has been handling, this year’s change, plus the volunteers’ help “(have) saved us a lot of time.” And Heller has been wonderful, he said.

Snowden has heard only positive feedback about this season’s look. “I think it looks beautiful,” he added.

Heller is already thinking about next year, and wants her fellow villagers and others to be, also. “I think we ought to have more people talking about the next phase of decorating the top of Main Street ... making something sparkle ...”

Wiscasset lights its holiday tree on the common in the annual ceremony, 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, with schoolchildren singing, Santa and cocoa, according to parks and recreation and the school departments’ websites.