By Bill Cantwell
---- — HAVERHILL — If you have a big evergreen tree on your property and want to help the community celebrate the holidays, this story is for you.
Organizers of the city’s annual downtown Christmas Stroll are looking for someone to donate a big Christmas tree.
It will become the centerpiece for the stroll and other holiday events that draw thousands of people downtown.
The Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce and other organizers said they have had a couple of offers from tree owners, but are hopeful they will receive more so they can make the best choice.
“The tree is the highlight of the stroll,’’ said Jen Cantwell, vice president of the chamber. “We try to get the tree up before the Santa parade and light it the first weekend of December.’’
The annual Santa Parade, one of Haverhill’s biggest social events of the year, will be in late November. The Christmas Stroll, also among the city’s biggest events, will be Dec. 7.
The stroll will be from 5 to 8 p.m., with the tree lighting to happen at 7:45 p.m. As in past years, the tree will be placed in Washington Square in the plaza across the street from the post office.
“The tree lighting will happen at the same time that Santa appears,’’ Cantwell said. “The combination of the two is the highlight of the night.’’
The tree will be decorated with 10,000 lights donated by Home Depot.
Besides being a social occasion, the stroll is also an opportunity for downtown businesses to show off the items they have for sale during the holiday season.
“We have the Shop Local Initiative to encourage people to shop with our downtown chamber members,’’ Cantwell said. “There are incentives such as discounts and a large raffle for a shopping spree involving downtown chamber members.
“The stroll pulls in about 8,000 people from not only Haverhill, but the surrounding area, Southern New Hampshire and the Merrimack Valley,’’ she said. “It’s a huge opportunity for downtown business to capitalize, one of their most successful days of the year in terms of sales. In terms of socializing, people bump into each other and spend time together. It’s a huge time for families to get together, and it gets the community into the holiday spirit.’’
HOW TO OFFER A TREE
Call 978-373-5663 to reach the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce
Email the chamber at firstname.lastname@example.org