Published December 5, 2018


LYNNFIELD — The holiday spirit was on full display at the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony on Dec. 1, as 1,000 people gathered on the Town Common to celebrate the most wonderful time of year.

The town’s holiday festivities kicked off in the morning when the Lynnfield Historical Society transformed the Meeting House into the 56th annual Country Store.

“We are pleased things seemed to be up,” said Country Store co-Chairwoman Karen Nascembeni. “There seemed to be a new enthusiasm this year.”

Historical Society member John Nunziato agreed.

“This was a pretty successful year,” said Nunziato.

Santa Claus made his first stop in town at the Country Store, which was made possible by the Lynnfield Fire Department filling in for Santa’s eight tiny reindeer. In addition to asking local children what they want for Christmas, Santa posed for pictures with the town’s youngsters.

“This was the biggest turnout for Santa photos ever,” said Nascembeni. “There was a line wrapped around the entire upstairs.”

Country Store vendors sold a variety of different food including ham and bean dinners that were cooked by Country Store co-Chairman and Historical Commission member Steven Richard. Nunziato and Shirley Jensen sold Vermont Cabot Cheese, which was a huge hit once again.

FOUR-YEAR-OLD Emma Circe couldn’t contain her excitement while meeting Santa Claus during Lynnfield Recreation’s annual Tree Lighting ceremony on Dec. 1. (Dan Tomasello Photo)

Historical Society members Annmarie Pendola and Janet Everson ran the homemade baked goods table, and Sally and Joseph Hockenbury sold a wide variety of jelly and jam. There were also local vendors selling honey, handmade soaps and handmade dolls.

Children and adults did their holiday shopping at Santa’s Five and Dime. Colby Properties once again sponsored the North Pole Fishing Hole, where youngsters used fishing rods to catch wrapped gifts. Lynnfield High School students Molly Smedira, Alexa Vittiglio, Cassidy Shone and Grace MacDonald spent the day helping youngsters find the perfect gift.

“I have been coordinating the volunteers for six years now,” said Smedira about the North Pole Fishing Hole. “Every year, it’s a tradition for me to come and get my parents and loved ones presents. It’s a great time.”

Vittiglio concurred with Smedira’s opinion.

“I used to do this with Girl Scouts every year,” said Vittiglio. “I love doing this because I get to see little kids, who are so adorable. I love seeing the community out here. It’s really cute and fun.”

Nascembeni noted the Village Home and Garden Club’s boxwood trees were sold out by early afternoon.

“The greens sold out very quickly like in the old days,” said Nascembeni. “The Village Home and Garden Club brought 90 arrangements and sold most of them. The wreaths went clean.”

Richard noted the Historical Society uses funds raised from the Country Store in order to maintain the Meeting House.

“This year we need a new roof and we also need to repaint it,” said Richard. “It has been 10 years since we had it painted.”

Nascembeni thanked Karen Colby and Colby Properties for hosting North Pole’s Fishing Hole once again. She also thanked Historical Society members Bob and Linda Gillon, and Kirk Mansfield for their support.

“Bob and Linda Gillon were instrumental with this event,” said Nascembeni. “We had some new blood helping us this year. Kirk Mansfield was terrific.”

Nascembeni was pleased the town’s younger generations are starting to volunteer and purchase gifts at the Country Store.

“The younger people in Lynnfield are now making this a tradition, and I love that everyone loves this tradition,” said Nascembeni. “The more people who help, the lighter the work is for all of us. And once you get here, you will fall in love and will be here every year helping out. It’s a great tradition for everybody.”

Gingerbread House Contest

Over the course of the day, townspeople headed to Centre Congregational Church to see the entries in the 14th annual Gingerbread House Contest. Lynnfield Recreation and the Girl Scouts sponsored the contest once again.

“They are beautiful and incredibly creative,” said Recreation Director Julie Mallett. “I love them. They smell great.”

Recreation Commission Chairman Rich Sjoberg agreed.

“I am always amazed by how much ingenuity people use with a cookie,” said Sjoberg.

The winners in this year’s contest are as follows:

• Most Original Theme: Katie Cash (Winter Tree House).

• Most Creative: Troop 62353 (Encampment).

• Viewers’ Choice/Favorite Storybook/Movie: Troop 82559 (Nutcracker Ballet).

• Best Replica of a Building: Mason Fusco (Mason’s Farm).

• Best Holiday Spirit: Lola Rich and Lyla McCormick (Gingerbread Dreams).

• Best Group: Troop 67136 (Santa’s Vacation).

• Spookiest: Nate McQueen (Haunted Holly).

• Best Youth: Reece and Kat Whitcomb (Gingerbread Guys).

• Best Child: Meredith Cash (Red Sox vs. Yankees).

• Totally Cool: Troop 62791 (Snowmen at the Beach).

• Most Creative Use of Materials: Troop 76214 (Winter Wonderland).

• Most Authentic: Fiona Asaad, Iman, Jiagle (Santa Family Village).

• Best Sports Theme: Troop 78176 (The Grinch Who Stole Baseball).

• Best Family: Doyle family (Desert Penguins’ Christmas).

• Most Town Pride: Kiera Mallet, Kasey Schena, Mac Schena and Gracie Sperling (Soccer Game at LHS).

• Best Winter Theme: Aria Chang (North Pole Village).

• Best Gamer: Riley Gardner (Mario’s Gingerbread Land).

• Best Winter Village: Troop 62351 (Huckleberry Hill School).

Tree Lighting Ceremony

The Tree Lighting Ceremony on the Town Common began at 3 p.m. when refreshments were served and Santa made his second stop in town. The Fire Department brought Santa to the ceremony via fire truck once again.

After Santa made his triumphant return, a number of local children and their parents lined up to ask Old Saint Nick what they want for Christmas. Additionally, Santa was checking his list to see who has been naughty or nice.

Similar to previous years, local photographers Lauri and Harlee Priestley were on hand taking pictures and printing them out for parents to take home.

Lynnfield High School’s Tri-M Band and Chorus, with the assistance of local Girl Scouts, kicked off the community singing segment featuring classic holiday songs “Let It Snow,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “I Have a Little Dreidel,” “Jingle Bells,” “Deck the Halls,” “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and “O Chanukah, O Chanukah.”

Selectmen Chairman Dick Dalton welcomed townspeople to the Tree Lighting Ceremony. He thanked Mallett and the Recreation Commission for hosting the town’s biggest and most popular event once again.

“I would like to thank the Recreation Commission and all of its volunteers, in particular Recreation Director Julie Mallett, for all the time and effort that went into arranging this wonderful day,” said Dalton. “It has grown under her leadership.”

Dalton said the holiday season is an incredibly special time of year that should be cherished.

“December has come and with it, all of the joys of Christmas,” said Dalton. “The gifts under the tree, the lights in the windows, cards in the mail, dinner with family and friends, stockings hanging in living rooms and shouts of Merry Christmas. It’s also a time to reassess our lives and examine our thoughts, feelings and actions. It’s a time of remembrance, gratitude and forgiveness. Beneath the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, there is a true beauty and joy that permeates this very special holiday. An important part of Christmas here in Lynnfield is the annual Christmas tree lighting. On behalf of the Board of Selectmen and the Dalton family, we want to wish each one of you a Merry Christmas and a healthy and happy new year.”

After Dalton concluded his remarks, he had his grandchildren Madeline, Lucas and Ava Cook assist him with lighting the trees on the Town Common. Afterwards, the ceremony’s attendees sang “We Wish You A Merry Christmas.”

Light Up Lynnfield

In addition to the Tree Lighting Ceremony and Gingerbread House Contest, Lynnfield Recreation hosted its inaugural Light Up Lynnfield contest this year. The contest allowed townspeople to display their holiday-decorated homes.

The winner of the Best Clark W. Griswold display was 10 Temple Rd. The Best Creative Use of Lights winner was 501 Summer St. The Best Neighborhood Participation winner was Perry Avenue/Ford Avenue. The People’s Choice Award winner was 70 Summer St.

The contests honorable mention recipients were 7 Wirthmore Ln.; 2 Lee Rd., 1 New Meadow Rd., 4 Wheeler St., 14 Tappan Way, 2 Apple Hill Ln., 5 Carol Ann Rd., 1-3-6 Wildewood Dr., 371 Salem St. and 70 Summer St.

“The Lynnfield Recreation Commission is so appreciative of each resident who participated and took the time to beautify their homes for the inaugural Light Up Lynnfield contest,” said Sjoberg.

Sjoberg noted Lynnfield Recreation had to utilize four trolleys in order to showcase the inaugural contest’s participants.

“We have 500 people riding on trolleys,” said Sjoberg. “And they are so excited to come back and put their votes in for the best house that they saw. The people who decorated their houses did a great job. There have never been so many decorated houses around Lynnfield.”

Sjoberg was pleased the annual holiday festivities shattered records this year.

“We are beyond excited for the turnout,” said Sjoberg. “This is beyond anything we anticipated. Everybody is festive and happy. It couldn’t be better. We want to thank everybody that participated whether that’s coming here today, participating in the inaugural Light Up Lynnfield contest or making a gingerbread house. I would also like to thank the DPW, Police Department, Fire Department, the selectmen and all of our volunteers. We couldn’t have done it without them.”