There’s nothing better than a Christmas tree lighting.
There’s the hot chocolate, the cookies, the caroling and the bright smiles. Unless you’re Scrooge or the Grinch, it’s an all-around fun time.
But such a festive occasion can be brought down significantly if there is no tree.
That’s the situation Revere found itself in after the July 28 tornado ripped through the City, causing millions of dollars in damages that have yet to be fully repaired, and in the process ripping the City’s 40-foot Blue Spruce Christmas tree out by the roots.
It was one of some 400 or more public and private trees that were destroyed in the tornado, but it was a tree that had special significance – not to mention there were but four months until some type of Christmas tree needed to be lit for the holidays.
“It was very important to me to get a tree up and get all the trees replaced,” Mayor Dan Rizzo said. “That’s why the tree lighting ceremony took on more significance to me this year. We had some great donations with a big tree, the new live tree and the little trees for each elementary school and middle school to decorate. It helps it to not look so empty. That’s always been a big priority of mine anyway – aesthetics in the city.”
This Saturday, Dec. 6, through some great donations, that tree lighting will happen. The festivities start at 5 p.m., following a parade up Broadway with Santa Claus.
One of the more astounding images in the hours after the tornado hit was that of the giant Christmas tree at the corner of Pleasant Street and Broadway lying on its side. Its roots were totally exposed and it had been literally ripped out of the ground and dumped about five feet from where it had stood for so long.
It was one of at least 150 public trees that had been destroyed. Counting losses at the Lincoln School and Revere High School, all of the City trees destroyed numbered in excess of 200. If one were to add up all the trees destroyed, including private trees (and no one has done that), the numbers are estimated to be well in the 400 range.
According to Paul Argenzio, foreman at the Department of Public Works (DPW) and the City’s go-to guy on trees, the 40-foot Blue Spruce had been planted at City Hall in 1987.
It had served as the City’s official Christmas tree since that time.
And once it was so suddenly ripped away, Argenzio said the mayor and several local groups worked quick to replace it.
“It was a quick turnaround because within six weeks from the tornado we got it planted,” he said. “We had to move quick because Christmas was coming.”
That tree was donated and planted by the Beachmont Improvement Committee (BIC), and stands as a monument to how organizations pulled together following the tornado.
But it didn’t stop there.
To make the City Hall area look a little less empty, trees were also donated by the Revere Beautification Committee (RBC) for the American Legion area.
Kinship Floral Designs donated a 27-foot Christmas tree that is temporarily being housed on the City Hall lawn where decorated live trees used to stand.
Finally, smaller Christmas trees line the front of the City Hall lawn, also a donation. Each tree represents one of the elementary or middle schools in the city.
With all of that giving spirit, in the wake of the tree-killing tornado, City Hall doesn’t look quite as empty as some had feared it might during the Christmas tree lighting ceremony.
Just about an hour after the tornado hit, this was the image of the City’s Christmas tree ripped out of the ground.
This Monday, Mayor Dan Rizzo and DPW Forman Paul Argenzio (left) posed in front of the new Christmas tree that will be lit this Saturday evening, Dec. 6.