St. John Valley

Christmas comes to Madawaska at annual tree lighting ceremony

MADAWASKA, Maine — Close to 100 people turned out for the ninth annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony Saturday, Nov. 30, at the farmer’s market pavilion. 

After children finished telling Santa what they wanted for Christmas, they ran to play on the snow banks and slide on the ice in the shopping plaza parking lot near the farmers market while their parents visited over hot chocolate — all waiting for the  ceremonial blessing and lighting of the tree.

Town manager Gary Picard said while this was the ninth annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony, the tradition dates back almost 11 years ago when the lighting was at the Four Corners Park before it moved to the corner of Mill and Main streets. After the completion of the farmers market last summer, Picard said that the tree lighting will most likely take place there in the future. 

Abby Gendreau, 12, won the essay contest and the chance to flip the switch at the ninth annual Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony Saturday, Nov. 30, at the farmers market pavilion. (Morgan Mitchell | SJVT)

“It’s a great thing. I think we can improve on it in the plaza and build up on it making it bigger every single year,” he said. “It’s nice. It’s about family and community — you know, happy times.” 

Melyssa Pelletier was there to take her family to support the town and see Santa, something she said they’ve done every year in Madawaska. 

“A lot of people work hard to set this up and it’s always a nice thing when we can drive by and see it light up,” she said. “It’s nice to see everyone get together and see the band here as well. We haven’t seen them in a couple years, so that’s a fun thing. It’s just nice to be able to get out and see friends and see everybody in a happy manner.” 

After the tree was blessed by a local deacon, the two winners of the coloring and essay contests flipped the switch to light the tree. 

Abby Gendreau, 12, won the essay contest with her piece about what Christmas means to her. 

“Christmas is a time of year where no matter if you’re young, old, big or small, everyone comes together to celebrate Jesus’s birthday,” she wrote. “Christmas is a time where everybody celebrates the good things they have and differences don’t matter.” 

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