The white lights are in the trees on Elm and, thanks to a longstanding effort of two of New Canaan’s most cherished volunteer nonprofit organizations—with help from the town—the village center will be fully transformed into a winter wonderland come the Holiday Stroll on Friday night.
More than 40 members of the New Canaan Beautification League and New Canaan Garden Club gathered Friday morning to create the wreaths, bows, garlands, holiday arrangements and evergreen roping that will adorn Town Hall, the police and railroad stations, library, new Post Office and windows throughout town.
“Our members are vitally interested in this from both organizations because it’s such a great joint effort,” Jane Gamber, president of the Garden Club, said from the Visitors Center at the New Canaan Nature Center, amid tables piled with ilex bush cuttings, winterberries, pinecones and branches. “We enjoy collaborating together. It’s the holiday spirit and it’s a great way for everybody to give back a little to this town.”
For the past week, members of the Department of Public Works have been collecting the greens and—together with others supplied by New Canaan-based Mill River Tree Service—supplied the makings of the decorations. Among others, those decorations include the roping for the bandstand for Christmas Eve caroling at God’s Acre.
This year’s effort was led by Gamber, Beautification League co-presidents Faith Kerchoff and Sara Hunt, NCBl wreaths workshop co-chairmen Liz Orteig and Sharon Johnson, and Garden Club chairman Maryjane Markey.
The Garden Club as early as 1960 creates Christmas wreaths for light poles on Elm Street and a giant wreath for the Post Office, according to a history of the local tradition. By the nation’s bicentennial, the library also was getting a wreath and the two groups started working together 20 years ago.
The wreaths are mounted on seven large wooden frames that are supplied by the DPW, and the members also create 32 regular-sized wreaths, four of which will adorn the face of the new Post Office on Locust Avenue.
The New Canaan Garden Club is part of the Garden Club of America.