Tree Lighting Scheduled for Dec. 6
ROCHESTER — City Manager Blaine Cox is pleased to announce that the City of Rochester’s Christmas tree arrived downtown and the annual lighting ceremony will take place next month.
The tree lighting, hosted by the Rochester Chamber of Commerce, will take place on Friday, Dec. 6 at 5:30 p.m.
This year, residents Ray and Cecile “Sis” Gagne, of Fortier Drive, graciously donated a 25-foot blue spruce, which had been a staple at the Gagne residence since 1997.
In 1997, Sis was on the hunt for a Korean Lilac tree to enrich her yard. While visiting the mountains of Fryeburg, Maine, Ray and Sis happened upon a plant nursery. After many failed attempts trying to find the Korean Lilac locally, Sis decided to test her luck and see if this particular nursery might have the tree she was searching for.
Much to Sis’s surprise, this nursery had the Korean Lilac tree she was hoping to find. When the Gagnes purchased this plant, the owner of the nursery gifted them with a blue spruce sapling as well. The blue spruce sapling was only about one foot tall when the Gagnes planted it in front of their home.
Over the last 20-plus years, the Gagne family has watched their sapling grow into the massive tree it is today. Throughout the years, Ray has decorated the tree with Christmas lights that could be seen from North Main Street about a quarter mile down the road.
As the spruce continued to grow, the Gagnes became worried about the increasing height of the tree and its proximity to electrical wires. The tree also became more difficult for Ray to decorate by himself due to its height.
Rather than just cutting down the tree due to its excessive size, the Gagnes wanted to ensure a fitting finale for their beloved tree. To make it happen, Ray approached the Rochester Chamber of Commerce to offer the spruce for the city’s annual holiday display. The Rochester Christmas tree has previously been donated by Rochester residents, which gave Ray the perfect chance to get involved with his city’s holiday festivities.
With their deep love for Christmas and longtime participation in Rochester’s Christmas festivities, Ray and Sis were excited to donate their tree and share it with the entire community.
“Christmas has always been a special time for our family,” Ray said. “We are excited to see our tree lit up in downtown Rochester for the community to see and enjoy as we celebrate the holiday season.”
Keeping with tradition, the Urban Tree Company sent Doug Gunnison, Marty Chase and Michael Dupont to cut down the spruce, while S.U.R. Construction sent its low bed trailer, operated by Tim Watson, to transport it from the Gagne’s yard.
Once the tree arrived in downtown Rochester, Sam Grenier, Dave Desjardin, Paul Michaud, Joseph Sanborn and Tom Martineau from the Rochester Department of Public Works assisted in placing the tree in the perfect position.
On Monday, Nov. 25, students from the Monarch School of New England will assist with the trimming of the tree. Each year, the City of Rochester and local students work together to make homemade decorations and bows for the city Christmas tree.
Jack & Jill Preschool, the Maple Street Magnet School, McClelland Elementary School and Gonic Elementary School created this year’s tree decorations.
“Every year, members of our city departments, local businesses and residents donate their time to make this time of the year extra special for the community,” City Manager Cox said. “Due to their efforts, the tree lighting ceremony is a wonderful community celebration that fosters a lot of holiday cheer.”
While the Gagnes have no immediate plans to plant a new spruce, Ray said a new tree may be planted in the future. For now, the Gagnes will be happily awaiting the tree lighting ceremony.