Oval aglow as Milford holds tree-lighting

MILFORD – Five, four, three, two, one . . . Christmas!

A crowd of well over 100 revelers gathered on the Oval on Saturday evening to sing in the season and see someone switch on the Christmas tree lights.

The Downtown Ongoing Improvement Team did it, reviving the town’s Christmas tree-lighting ceremony after several years’ absence.

The group served up cocoa and popcorn, and handed out bows for children to decorate the tree.

DOIT Executive Director Jessica Hejtmanek was delighted by the turnout, which a few years of tradition can only increase.

The “Jingle on Downtown” event followed a full day of craft fairs at local churches. Next Sunday afternoon, the Milford Lions and Lioness Club have invited Santa and Mrs. Claus to the Oval to greet local children.

The star of the evening – a strapping Blue Spruce, nearly 20 feet tall – looked as though it had been growing there for years. Ross Gangloff donated the tree in memory of his late aunt, Hazel Rockus, who used to own the North Street field where it grew.

The tree was among a batch of Spruce seedlings Gangloff planted some 28 years ago, he said, but it never quite fit in.

“It wasn’t as blue as the others,” he said.

Brothers Josh and Rusty Boisvert, of Josh’s Specialized Landscapes, cut the tree, hauled it to the Oval, patched it where it split and stood it proud.

“They took it down in the pouring rain Wednesday,” Gangloff said. “They had an awful time.”

The Boisvert brothers trimmed the base of the tree, to make it fit into the large tube stand set into the corner some years back, and worked a few other trade secrets to make it pretty.

“It was quite a production,” Josh Boisvert said.

The entire Oval was brightly lit, from the lights on the trees and gazebo to the lights of shops, most of which stayed open for the occasion.In the middle of the Oval, the serendipitously named Carol McLaughlin led a merry band of Brownies in Christmas songs, forming the nucleus of what became a lively bunch of carolers. The music selection leaned toward Jingle Bells, Rudolph and Roof Tops, with a smattering of Bethlehem and rum-pa-pum-pum.

On the outskirts, toward the end of the evening, a duo of girls harmonized sweetly on Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” an operatic rock song infrequently associated with Christmas.