The New Canaan Chamber of Commerce Reaches Out for Donations
In Support of the 12th Annual Holiday Stroll & Tree Lighting
The 12th Annual Holiday Stroll to be held on Friday December 2nd and Saturday December 3rd is a weekend of festivities that marks the beginning of the holiday season in New Canaan. The New Canaan Chamber of Commerce and the Holiday Stroll committee works for months and months to put the pieces together, which include a trip to the North Pole to recruit Santa Claus, his reindeer and helpers, as well as solidifying the entertainment, refreshments, and the manpower it will take to orchestrate the weekend’s celebrations. But there is one component, the highlight of the event, that still has a way to go – and that is the funds needed to light the lights of downtown New Canaan so that Santa will be able to pull the switch and ring in the holiday season, and we are even going green!
This year the Chamber has completely converted 12,000 bulbs to LED lights. The newer lights also are more durable, lasting as much as 100,000 hours, compared with traditional bulbs that often burn out after just 1,000 hours. It costs a little extra to make the conversion, but the payoff comes in dramatically lower electricity bills – and reduced energy consumption.
Contrary to popular belief, the town does not fund this endeavor. While they do absorb the electricity portion, the hardware and manpower alone totals a whopping $22,000 +, of which, in past years, came from merchants and private donors. “People assume that the town has some secret stash that they dip in to for events such as these, “says New Canaan Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Tucker Murphy, “and often it goes unspoken, but residents should know that it doesn’t work like that.”
The Chamber has established the “New Canaan Chamber Charitable Foundation” so that all donations, big or small, are fully tax deductible to the extent permitted by law. Of course, checks are always welcome, made payable to the “New Canaan Chamber Charitable Foundation” and mailed to NC Chamber of Commerce at 91 Elm Street, New Canaan, CT 06840. Online donations are always welcome by via our webpage at http://newcanaanchamber.com/holiday-lights/. So, where does the money go and how do the costs add up to such a high amount?
“Approximately 150 hours of manpower to light 70+ trees with 500 strands of lights,” explains Rob Hutchinson of Hutchinson Tree Care Specialists, the team behind this yearly ambitious endeavor. Rob has already begun in early November the month-long project that includes prepping the trees and testing the electricity sources, which is limited, tricky and challenging. The main power source comes from the lamp posts that line Elm Street, Forest St and part of South Avenue. “We are up on the cherry pickers [trucks] for about 50 hours, on the ground for 100 hours, plus there’s day to day maintenance while the lights are up and the break down in the end, “says Rob, “Not to mention the traffic control and police work involved.”
Other costs include the lights themselves. Year to year replacements must be determined. Dale Carbonier from Rand Insurance of New Canaan and a long time Chamber member/supporter created “Bulb Blast”, a yearly event that rounds up a team of volunteers, some of which are high school students from the National Charity League to test the lights. Inevitably, lights, and other equipment, need fixing and replacing.
Those wishing to support The New Canaan Holiday Stroll and join in the holiday spirit can contact: