Community tree lighting to take place Wednesday

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BENNINGTON — Carol singing, hot drinks, a lantern walk and homemade cookies will accompany this year's lighting of the community Christmas tree at the Vermont Veterans' Home on Wednesday evening.

The evening begins with a new event, a lantern stroll from the Bennington Area Makerspace to the Veterans' Home at 4:30 p.m. The Bennington Area Makers, in coordination with the Town of Bennington and the Better Bennington Corporation, have been working with local children and families to create tin lanterns for the event. Families are to assemble and gather the lanterns they've been working on for weeks for the display. At caroling stop at the new pocket park at 336 Main St. is planned.

At 5:30pm, the tree lighting ceremony will begin on the Veterans' Home front yard. The tree, with over 2,000 feet of energy-efficient lights, has been lit by the Veterans' Home for the past few years now. Also featured at the community tree lighting ceremony will be the Mount Anthony Union High School choir, hot chocolate, keynote dignitaries, and a special visit from Santa Claus. Children are encouraged to help by coming up to the gazebo and assisting Santa in flipping the switch to light the community tree.

New this year, Mrs. Claus will be joining Santa. "We asked Santa for some ideas, and that's what he came up with," Al Faxon, chief operating officer of the Veterans' Home and coordinator of the lighting, said. "Spread the cheer."

After the lighting ceremony, the public is invited to walk along the candlelit path of the Deer Park with a possible visit from St. Nick's special friends, the reindeer. The lighted path will guide the public to an open house at the Bennington Regional Chamber of Commerce located at 100 Veterans Memorial Drive and sponsored by Couch and Cork, a new business member of the Chamber. Featured at the chamber, starting around 6:30 p.m., will be musical performances, hot drinks, a roaring fire and more.

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Hannaford Supermarkets is sponsoring a free cookie-making factory in the executive's office at the Chamber. Children and adults are invited to take a cookie and decorate it with many of Hannaford's products, like sprinkles, frosting and candies.

"Nothing says home for the holidays like the lighting of the annual community tree and the events we have planned throughout the evening," Matt Harrington, executive director of the Chamber, said. "It's great to see so many families come out, celebrate the magic of the season and for us to partner with our good friends at the Veterans' Home. It's even more rewarding this year as we have new partners in the Town, BBC and BAM. We've been working to make this an annual tradition in town, and with the help of old and new friends, we're well on our way."

"The Vermont Veterans' Home is committed to being a strong community partner," Faxon said. "We love to celebrate this time of year and are honored once again to be the host for the community tree this holiday season. We love to see the area organizations get together to create some fun events like the lantern walk and the cookie making factory."

The event is supported by the Bennington Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Vermont Veterans' Home, the Town of Bennington, the Better Bennington Corporation and the Bennington Area Makers.

For more information on all the regional events for the holidays visit: https://www.bennington.com/home-for-the-holidays


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