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Holyoke tree lighting days before Christmas


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    HOLYOKE, Massachusetts (WGGB/WSHM) — Christmas is just days away, many local towns and cities typically come together to get in the holiday spirit. For decades, the city of Holyoke has kept the tree lighting tradition alive.

Crowds would gather around the tree at city hall spreading the holiday cheer, but the pandemic changed that this year.

Typically this tree would have been lit up earlier in the month, but Western Mass News was told, due to mechanical issues this wasn’t the case. Instead of settling for a bare tree, the city came together and got the job done.

Christmas is just around the corner, which means the city of Holyoke got into the holiday spirit with their longtime tradition of lighting up the Christmas tree at city hall.

Typically, the tree is covered in bright lights and ornaments early in the month of December. But that wasn’t the case this year.

“I live in town, and I’ve driven past it every two or three days to see if it was decorated yet,” Holyoke resident Jennifer Campbell said.

Campbell donated the massive tree to the city right from her own yard. She said she figured it was the pandemic that could have caused the decoration delay.

“Honestly, I was thinking in this crazy year, there could’ve been so many things going wrong,” Campbell said. “I was just crossing my fingers.”

Members of the community took to social media to ask themselves the same question, why aren’t there lights on the tree yet?

Western Mass News got answers from Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse, who said it was a mechanical issue.

“The tree was a little bit later than usual this year because of a mechanical issue due to a DPW truck,” Morse said.

But despite the setbacks, the residents of Holyoke teamed up to get the job done.

“I saw it on Facebook and saw a lot of complaints, and I started getting a lot of phone calls and text messages from constituents asking what we can do about it,” Holyoke City Councilor Mike Sullivan said. “Once I found out that a piece of equipment broke down, I reached out to the Holyoke Gas and Electric. They coordinated with the fire department. They both had bucket trucks with the right lifts on it, and we have a fantastic group at the fire department, and they jumped right to it.”

Despite the coronavirus limitations and struggles it took to get this tree shining as bright as it is now, all can agree seeing the community come together was an early Christmas present.

“I want to thank the family that donated the Christmas tree,” Morse said. “Also want to thank the men and women at the Department of Public Works, but also the Holyoke Fire Department for chipping in.”

“It really shows the community involvement and the spirit that a lot of people don’t get to see in Holyoke all the time,” Sullivan added.

Members of the community said though celebrating isn’t the same as previous years, it was worth the hard work and commitment of everyone who chimed in to get this tree shining right before Christmas.

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