By Megann Horstead | For The Sentinel
The Village of Shorewood recently lit up at nightfall ushering dozens of residents and other community members to get into the spirit of the season during its annual Holiday Tree Lighting.
The gathering served as the kickoff for another event in town, Festival of Trees, which continues through Dec. 31. “It’s been years [of] growth [in] the planning of this,” Mayor Rick Chapman said. “The lighting of a huge tree, like this, has just come into the play the last five years.”
This holiday season, the Demask family donated their tree to the Village, with a desire for it to be lit for residents and other members of the community to enjoy.
“Every year, we go around [and] people put their name in that want their tree removed from the property, and they want to donate it to us,” Chapman said. “It’s been working well.”
The tree was equipped with thousands of lights for people to enjoy.
“We planted this tree 35 years ago on our fifth wedding anniversary,” Rose Demask said. “We just celebrated our 40th anniversary, so it’s a very meaningful tree to us, but in the space it was in, it was really outgrowing its space and kind of encroaching on the driveway and sidewalk.”
That’s when the Village’s public works department stepped in to take down the Demask family’s tree, which stood at more than 40 feet.
“We thought this is a great way to end the life of this tree, although I hated to do that because I just love the tree,” Demask said.
Demask said donating the tree to the Village brings added meaning to her knowing that she and her husband have been Shorewood residents since 1982.
Santa and Mrs. Claus were on hand and greeted those in attendance for the Holiday Tree Lighting.
Chapman greeted the crowd with some remarks, and people took pictures with their phones as the tree was lit for all to see.
This year 30 Shorewood businesses and organizations signed up to decorate a tree for the festival. Residents are invited to come out to Village Hall, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Festival of Trees voting runs through Dec. 30, at which point the winner will be notified and receive space to promote their business or organization in the Village of Shorewood Parks and Recreation’s summer program guide.
“This year, we’re doing something different,” said Katie Fitzpatrick, recreation and event coordinator for Shorewood Parks and Recreation. “We’re encouraging spectators to go online or fill out a paper copy, here, at Village Hall.”
To cast a vote, visit www.surveymonkey.com/r/shorewoodtreevoting2017.