Memory Tree Lighting
The Mad River Valley Memory Tree will officially be lit on Friday, December 18th at 4:30 pm. This year’s ceremony will be a remote affair with community members encouraged to watch live on the MRV Chamber’s Facebook page. It will also be recorded by Mad River Valley TV for broadcast on channel 44 and via social media channels.
The program will include a brief introduction, a reading of the names, the tree lighting and singing performances from local luminaries. Karl and Susan Klein will perform an a cappella rendition of “Let There be Peace on Earth”. Jane Cunningham will sing “O Holy Night” and The Holter Family will present “I’ll be home for Christmas” and “Imagine”. As much as we’d like to gather as a community for this event we ask that you please stay home and watch it remotely and/or enjoy the re-broadcast. In an effort to keep our community safe the event planners will be following all social distancing protocols and attendance will be limited to the program participants. Thank you for your cooperation.
The Mad River Valley Memory Tree has long been a highlight to the annual illumination of the valley. It began as a fundraising project of the Mad River Valley Lions Club back in the 1970’s. The original concept was borrowed from the Saint Johnsbury Lions Club. Each year they would hold a tree lighting ceremony on a Friday in December just after dark where they would read the names of those who bought bulbs and for whom. After the Lions Club disbanded the Memory Tree tradition went away until Joan Wilson, John Gallagher and Nancy and Jess Mobley revived the idea in 2013. Each year a different cause is selected as the beneficiary of the funds raised.
The Memory Tree concept is simple. Each year community members are encouraged to dedicate a light(s) in memory of, in honor of, and/or in celebration of a loved one, event, or anything close to their hearts. At the tree lighting ceremony the bulb dedications are read. Each light dedication costs $5 with each donation matched by the Winthrop H. Smith Jr. Family Foundation. At the start of each season a different non-profit is identified as the recipient of funds. This year it will be the Mad River Valley Rotary Club. Honor Your Memory Today!
The MRV community may recall that the lights had been looking tired the last few years and everyone will be glad to know that the old Memory Tree’s lights have been retired and new ones purchased and hung thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor.
Every holiday season, the Mad River Valley comes to life with a spectacle of illumination that is quintessential Vermont. While it has been a long-standing tradition, it has added meaning this year. As we enter an uncertain winter season we invite the citizens of the Mad River Valley to help create beacons of hope for locals and visitors alike.