Making Manchester Merry and Bright

Making Manchester Merry and Bright

Making Manchester Merry and Bright

Berta Maginnis shows off the Manchester Visitors’ Ceter holiday storage area.

Berta Maginnis shows off the Manchester Visitors’ Ceter holiday storage area.

As the holidays approach, there is a flurry of activity going on behind the scenes at Manchester and the Mountains Chamber of Commerce as they prepare to deck the halls – and the streets – for the season.

I stopped by the Chamber of Commerce the other day to get the scoop on Manchester Merriment, which begins on November 30 and continues through January 1. There will be a number of festive events taking place in Manchester and surrounding communities. (A full list is available at their website,, or you can stop by the Visitor’s Center to pick up a brochure.)

One of the most anticipated is the Lighted Tractor Parade scheduled for Saturday, December 7. On the day of my visit, Kelsey Cottrell of Guest Services was busy at the front desk testing batteries and lights for the tractors. Berta Maginnis, the Chamber’s Executive Director, explained that this year they’d be trying to string the lights on the tractors early, while it was still relatively warm. Last year they did it the morning of the event, and froze their fingers to the bone!

Berta led me down to the basement, where a big table was covered with the makings of two giant wreaths destined for the new Park House at the Rec Center. She pointed to two giant cardboard boxes stashed behind the table. “That is our Christmas tree,” she said. “We were able to get a beautiful 14’ tree for our first Christmas here last year.”

In the adjoining storage area, large plastic bins containing hundreds of ornaments and decorations and quite a few large, bulging plastic bags full of the overflow lined one wall; the other was draped with the garlands and ribbons that will decorate the Visitor’s Center.

By the time you read this, decorating will have begun. Over 3000 LED lights will have been tested and untangled before being installed around town. Thirty-five light poles will be wrapped with bows and pine sprays made by Equinox Valley Nursery. Twenty-five big white stars, each with 25 pieces, will be assembled. Ten of Don Dorr’s vintage tractors will be festooned with lights, and several trees will be cut and placed by Steve Casey and his crew  at the Department of Public Works in anticipation of their holiday finery. Everyone who works at the Chamber, assisted by their dedicated spouses, pitches in.

Berta invites visitors and residents to stop by the Visitors’ Center to see.

I like to decorate for Christmas, but I invariably balk at the amount of time and effort it takes each year; is it really worth it for such a short period of time? Yes, of course it is – it’s only four boxes, after all!



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