Published December 11, 2019


LYNNFIELD — Frigid temperatures and a snowy week did not stop hundreds of residents from attending Lynnfield Recreation’s holiday festivities on Dec. 6 and 7.

While Lynnfield Recreation originally planned on hosting the Tree Lighting Ceremony on the upper part of the Town Common near the fire bell due to the on-going septic system project, those plans were squashed in the wake of last week’s snowstorm. As a result, the town moved the Tree Lighting Ceremony to the Town Hall parking lot.

“We had to adapt and overcome this year,” said Recreation Commission Chairman Rich Sjoberg. “Due to the Town Common septic system project, we had Plan B to use the top of the Common to have a spectacular Tree Lighting. But then Mother Nature got in the way last Sunday and Monday. We had to go to Plan C, which is using the Town Hall parking lot. It worked out phenomenal. A great town spirit came together for the holidays.”

In addition to hosting the Tree Lighting Ceremony at Town Hall, Lynnfield Recreation also hosted the 15th annual Gingerbread House Contest at Centre Congregational Church and the second annual Light Up Lynnfield contest.

SIBLINGS Shane and Madison Steiner told Santa Claus what they wanted for presents for Christmas during Lynnfield Recreation’s Tree Lighting Ceremony on Dec. 7. (Dan Tomasello Photo)

The Tree Lighting Ceremony began at 3 p.m., when Santa Claus made his second stop in town when he arrived at Town Hall courtesy of Fire Engine 4. The first thing Santa did when he arrived was wish Sjoberg’s 11-year-old son, Ryan, a happy birthday.

Friends of Lynnfield Recreation members Jes Doherty, Lauren Hurton and Jessica Capodilupo served hot chocolate and cookies during the Tree Lighting Ceremony. Billy Mallett, Fields Director Joe Maney, Cara Maney and Shannen Cuddy also volunteered their time over the course of the two days.

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. Local photographers Lauri and Bob Priestley were on hand once again taking pictures of children with Santa and were printing them out for parents to take home.

Lynnfield High School’s Tri-M Music Honor Society, with the assistance of local Girl Scouts and Brownie troops, 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.”

Selectman Dick Dalton welcomed the 200 residents to the Tree Lighting Ceremony. He thanked Sjoberg, Recreation Director Julie Mallett and the rest of the Recreation Commission for organizing and planning the three events once again.

“This event has truly grown over the last few years,” said Dalton. “It went from a single trolley to seven trolleys. The tickets are more difficult to get than tickets to ‘The Nutcracker.’”

Dalton noted that Christmas is a time for Christians to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and his positive message.

“It is a message that says we have to be our brother’s keepers, our sister’s keepers, and we have to reach out to each other to forgive each other and to let the light of our good deeds shine for all,” said Dalton. “We have to care for the sick, the hungry and the downtrodden. We have to love one another, even our enemies, and we have to treat one another the way we would want to be treated. It’s a message that not only grounds my family’s Christian faith, but that of Jewish Americans, Muslim Americans, non-believers and Americans of all backgrounds. It’s a message of unity, a message of decency and a message of hope that never goes out of style.”

Dalton also encouraged townspeople to “not forget our troops who serve far from home this holiday season.”

“These outstanding men and women go into harm’s way to protect our nation that we love and the freedoms that we hold dear,” said Dalton.

After Dalton concluded his speech, he had his grandson Mason and Dominic Varone help him with lighting the trees on the Town Common. Afterwards, the ceremony’s attendees sang “We Wish You A Merry Christmas.”

Gingerbread House Contest

Over the course of the day, townspeople headed to Centre Congregational Church to see the entries in Lynnfield Recreation’s 15th annual Gingerbread House Contest.

“I was blown away by the Gingerbread House Contest entries,” said Sjoberg.

Hannah and Colin Doyle’s gingerbread house called “The Christmas Greenhouse” impressed Sjoberg. The Doyle family won the Best Family category.

“It had sugar windows,” said Sjoberg about the gingerbread house. “I truly need to know how that got done. I need that in my life.”

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

• Most Original Theme: Troop 78176

• Best Replica of a Town Building: Kasey Schena and Kiera Mallet

• Best Holiday Spirit: Reece and Kat Whitcomb

• Best Tween: Troop 76214

• Best Youth: Landrey McKelvey

• Best Child: Emilia and Sienna Elworthy

• Best Sports Theme: Troop 62791

• Best Group: Troop 82559

• Best Pioneer Pride: Troop 60345

• Best Family: The Doyle Family

• Most Authentic: Niccolo and Giada Antidormi, Stephen Sfikas and Janice Iannessa

• Best Replica of a Lynnfield Field/Park: Nate McQueen

• Totally Cool: Troop 75374

• Pet Friendly: Troop 62353

• Most Creative: Troop 67136

• Best Lynnfield School: Troop 62351

• Most Outdoorsy: Maeve, Thayer, Juliette, Sophie, Cara and Emma

• Scariest: Aria Chang

• Viewers’ Choice: Troop 82559

• Best North Pole: Fiona and Olivia Assad

• Best Seasonal: Lily Williams and Anna Raslavicus

Light Up Lynnfield

In addition to the Tree Lighting Ceremony and Gingerbread House Contest, Lynnfield Recreation hosted its second annual Light Up Lynnfield contest on Dec. 6 and 7. The contest allowed townspeople to display their holiday-decorated homes, which were viewed by residents riding trolleys all around town.

“We sold almost over a thousand trolley tickets over the two nights,” said Sjoberg. “We sold 500 tickets last year.”

The winner of the Clark W. Griswold and Viewers’ Choice categories was 371 Salem St. The winner of the Creative Use of Lights Category was 501 Main St. Perry Avenue and Ford Avenue won the Neighborhood Participation category for the second straight year.

“We need to thank everyone who participated and who signed up for the trolley tours,” said Recreation Director Julie Mallett. “The houses are amazing and the judges had a really hard time deciding. They were not unanimous in their decisions.”

Thanks local officials

Sjoberg thanked Town Administrator Rob Dolan, DPW Director John Tomasz, Police Chief David Breen and Fire Chief Glenn Davis for the support they provided Lynnfield Recreation over a hectic couple of weeks.

“We had several meetings over the last week to make adaptions to the plan,” said Sjoberg. “They were incredible to work with. We are so grateful for what each one of them did. John Tomasz was here today to make sure everything was perfect.”