A 35-foot-tall Douglas fir harvested in Vermont holds center stage on the Dartmouth Green this month, continuing a tradition that dates back at least to the 1940s. The lights—some 1,110 LED bulbs—will be switched on at 5:15 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 5, when the public is welcome to Dartmouth’s annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony.
Trumpeter Glenn Griffin and the 40th anniversary Christmas Revels youth and adult choruses will perform traditional carols, and cookies and hot chocolate will be served, courtesy of the Office of the President. The ceremony will take place rain or shine.
College arborist David DiBenedetto says the tree, which was grown by D’Aiello’s Vermont Tree in Canaan, Vt., weighs about 3,500 pounds, and is anchored in part by about 6 feet of its trunk sunk into the Green. Once its holiday duties are over, the tree will be chipped and composted at Dartmouth’s composting facility.
Until then, though, a team of troubleshooters from Facilities Operations and Management have the tree in their keeping, switching the lights on each evening and off again in the morning. John Biele, of Dartmouth’s electric shop, says the tree’s energy-efficient lights draw less than 15 amps, power comparable to the average home microwave, and about one-sixth of the energy used before the switch was made to LED bulbs.
The tree lighting coincides with town-wide holiday events sponsored by the Hanover Chamber of Commerce. “Celebrate the Season” activities, which run Dec. 5-7, include horse-drawn wagon rides, performances, refreshments, and extended hours at many downtown businesses.
Information about Revels North’s 40th anniversary performances of the Christmas Revels 2014 can be found at the group’s website, with ticketing information available through the Hopkins Center box office.