New First Night plans for Middlefield

Middlefield Park and Recreation has planned multiple activities around the town green area to usher in the holiday season on Nov. 30.

The event is scheduled from 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., although the centerpiece of the tradition festivity, the tree lighting, will be significantly different this year.

A pine tree, that has dominated the Middlefield town green for many years and served as a Christmas tree for many ceremonies, has been dead for several years and is scheduled to be taken down before Nov. 30.

At the Nov. 19 Middlefield Board of Selectman meeting, First Selectman Jon Brayshaw noted that the tree had been inspected by arborists and had to come down. According to Brayshaw, the town is considering recommendations for a replacement tree.

According to Middlefield Park and Recreation Director Chris Hurlbert, Middlefield Federated Church officials also had to agree to the tree’s removal since the land is church land.

As a substitute for the tree lighting ceremony a pair of much smaller, newly-planted trees will be used. “We’re going to use all the lights that used to be on the big one,” Hurlbert said. “Hopefully, you can see those babies from space.”

The tree lighting ceremony used to be run by the Junior Women’s Club, but was taken over on short notice last year by Park and Recreation. This year multiple activities in different locations have been planned. “We’ve expanded it quite a bit,” Hurlbert said.

Activities will start at 4:30 p.m. with Story Time and crafts at the Levi Coe Library and a Craft Bazaar at the Middlefield Children’s Center. According to Jen Hogan at Middlefield Children’s Center, the Craft Bazaar should feature about 15 tables of crafts such as scarves and figurines and will run until 8 pm.

Carol singing begins at the trees at 5:30 p.m. and children can also enter a raffle to be Santa’s helper.

Santa will arrive at 6 p.m. for the tree lighting.

After, there will be pictures with Santa at the Middlefield Community Center between 6:30 and 8 p.m. timed in shifts according to a ticket system. During that same time frame, Craft Time will be available at the Middlefield Federated Church and at the community center. The crafts in the community center will be run by Durham/Middlfield Youth and Family Services.

First Night also has a charitable component this year with collections of canned good and non-perishable food items for the Middlefield Food Pantry, coats for Coats for CT, and personal items, phone cards, and non-perishable food items for the military.

The First Night ceremony is named to mark the first night of the holiday season. As the fliers for the event note, “Start the season off right with helping others!”

Referring to Coats for CT, Hurlbert said, “I’d like to get 100 coats if we could.”



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