‘A Gift That the Residents Give To Each Other’: Support Needed for Holiday Lights Downtown

One of New Canaan’s best-loved holiday traditions needs a boost to get over the hump this year, officials say. 

The holiday lights—thousands of white lights that are strung through some 60 trees throughout the heart of the business district—are supported solely through tax-deductible donations. 

The head of the organization that leads the effort, the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce, Laura Budd, said this year the Foundation is about 65% toward its approximately $26,000 goal. “The municipality does not pay for it—it’s really a gift that the residents give to each other,” Budd said. The lights go up in October—thanks to a reduced rate from Rob Hutchinson (NCHS ‘69, was at Woodstock) and his local business, Hutchinson Tree Care Specialists Inc.—and are turned on two days before Thanksgiving, Budd said. “So they are there to greet all the friends and family who come into town,” she said. “I think it is just a really iconic New Canaan feeling to drive into town, either up Main Street or down South Avenue, and to see the lights in the trees.

Donations Needed To Support ‘Holiday Lights’ in Downtown New Canaan

The New Canaan Chamber of Commerce is calling on residents to support one of the town’s most cherished holiday traditions. The thousands of soft white LED lights that New Canaan’s Hutchinson Tree Care Specialists Inc. for decades has woven into the trees on Elm, Main and Forest Streets, as well as Morse Court, are supported by individual contributions made to a tax-deductible Chamber charitable foundation. Since 2008, residents’ generosity has ensured support for the lights, and the Chamber developed the tax-deductible foundation in recent years. “Let’s be honest, it’s the darkest time of the year and this year that has even more meaning, considering the surge in coronavirus cases,” Laura Budd, the Chamber’s executive director, told NewCananite.com. “And I think when you drive into town and see the lights at night, especially for people shopping or coming off of the train or dining out at one of our restaurants, it’s a really warm and welcoming feeling.

Chamber: Support Needed for Holiday Lights Downtown

Officials are calling for locals to support a cherished New Canaan tradition that relies on private funds to take place downtown each year. The white lights that adorn trees on Elm, Main and Forest Streets—and starting this year, Pine Street, as well—cost about $22,000 in hardware and manpower, according to the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce. While the town supplies the electricity for the now-100-percent-LED lights, funds must be raised each year to carry those costs. “I think it is one of the things that sets our town apart in the holdaiy season,” Laura Budd of the Chamber told NewCanaanite.com. “It brings a lot of happiness to people—it’s the darkest time of the year, we have the least amount of light and it’s really great to come downtown and see all the trees lit up and the lampposts, too.

‘They Support the Community’: Local Businesspeople Recognized by New Canaan Chamber of Commerce at Annual Awards Luncheon

Local businesspeople in New Canaan work tirelessly year-round to serve the town of New Canaan and its residents—giving of their time and rolling up their sleeves to provide goods and services for those in need, coach youth sports and volunteer to support community events. On Tuesday, the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce recognized three businesses who have made a significant impact. “We do this every year—this is our way of honoring the businesses that support our town,” Tucker Murphy, the executive director of the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce, said during the organization’s Annual Awards Luncheon, held at Gates. “It’s always hard because there are so many that do so many great things.”

This year’s winners are:

Rob Hutchinson and Hutchinson Tree Company for Golden Shovel
Steve and Leo Karl for Volunteers of the Year
Nick Martschenko and South End for Business of the Year

“The Golden Shovel is for an organization or club that lends to the beautification of downtown,” Murphy told NewCanaanite.com, referring to Hutchinson’s Christmas lights that run throughout town in the winter months. “The lights is just an all time favorite.