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By Laura Drinan
Hometown Weekly Reporter
December 1 is an important date on the calendar for those who celebrate the holidays. It means trees need to be put up, decorations are ready to be displayed, gifts are waiting to be bought, and that the holidays are just weeks away.
In Medfield, December 1 also means it is time for the annual tree lighting in Baxter Park.
The Medfield Employers and Merchants Organization (MEMO) invites the community each year to watch Baxter Park be lit up with hundreds of twinkling lights. The evening unites those in attendance with beloved carols through the Joy to the World concert and the Cultural Alliance of Medfield’s Holiday Stroll, which brings several of the town’s merchants to set up booths near the park.
“This is something the MEMO group has sponsored for at least 25 years,” explained Tim Borchers, the event chair. “Probably around 20 years ago, we started caroling when we put up the lights and it was open to just anybody who wanted to come out and sing. We started losing MEMO members who actually liked singing, so somewhere a few years ago, what happened was that kids would come up after the program and say, ‘Hey, can I sing something?’ There were some incredible voices and we decided to make a contest out of it.”
Nearly two dozen children from Medfield performed on stage while friends and families gathered in Baxter Park under the warm glow of the holiday lights hung by Hank Marcel and a team of volunteers. At the end of the concert, Borchers announced the names of the lucky winners who would join Santa on his float on the following day’s parade.
Downtown, the Fire Department welcomed children onto Engine 1, which was decorated with strings of multicolored lights. At the gazebo by the library, ice sculptor Sam Sannie welcomed Holiday Stroll attendees as he sculpted three pedestals, upon which he would eventually place two snowflakes made of ice and a rounded chunk with the word “peace” carved into it.
Despite all of the excitement happening downtown, many remained in Baxter Park after the concert ended to socialize and enjoy the lights.
“I’m always really excited to come to this,” said seventh grader, Adam Madej, who spent the evening in Baxter Park with his group of friends. “I don’t remember exactly how many years I’ve been going, but I think it’s been about five years. It’s a lot of fun.”
Whether it was one’s first, fifth, or 25th year attending the tree lighting and Holiday Stroll, the evening succeeded in jumpstarting Medfielders’ holiday spirits and welcoming the season.