Winter Forest could become a Southwick tradition

Southwick EMT Michael Perault adjusts an ornament on the Fire Association tree in the Winter Forest event at Southwick Town Hall. (Photo by Hope E. Tremblay)

Southwick Police Officer David Massai puts the finishing touches on the Police Association Christmas tree at Southwick Town Hall Dec. 7, 2019. (Photo by Hope E. Tremblay)

SOUTHWICK – The first-ever Winter Forest Dec. 7 at Southwick Town Hall felt like a true winter wonderland, said visitors.

With fresh snow on the ground and a forest of decorated trees outside and inside Town Hall, the spirit of the holidays was evident.

The Winter Forest, as well as the craft and vendor fair, which were hosted inside Town Hall, were organized by Southwick Civic Fund in conjunction with the Southwick 250 Committee to commemorate the town’s upcoming 250th anniversary.

Elizabeth Deedy of the Southwick Civic Fund said she was confident it would be well attended, but she was thrilled at its success.

“I thought we would have a good turnout for it being the first year, but I was shocked at how many people actually came out,” Deedy said. “At one point, you couldn’t even walk through the lobby it was shoulder to shoulder with people.”

Deedy said she hopes the event becomes a Southwick tradition.

This tree, decorated by the Southern TriTown Girl Scouts, earned third place in the Fan Favorite contest at Southwick’s Winter Forest event. (Photo by Hope E. Tremblay)

The Southwick Park & Recreation Commission’s tree earned an Honorable Mention at the Winter Forest event Dec. 7. (Photo by Hope E. Tremblay)

“I think the town has spoken and we plan on making this a yearly event,” she said. “It was great how the community really came together, and someone mentioned to us after the event, it was just like a Hallmark movie.”

Businesses, groups and individuals sponsored trees and visitors voted for their favorites. The top tree was the Southwick Police Association tree, which was coordinated by Police Officer David Massai to honor fallen colleagues from across the country.

Decked out in blue and white, the tree featured over 200 ornaments, each with the name of a police officer who died in 2019. Police Chief Kevin A. Bishop said he hopes the number stays steady, but if another officer dies before the end of the year, an ornament will be added to the tree.

“We are sending the ornaments to the families of the officers when the event is over,” Bishop noted.

Taking second place was the Southwick Fire Association tree. The whimsical tree – the vision of Fire Safety Coordinator Lisa Anderson – included elves climbing a wooden ladder and a fire hose-turned-garland. While participants deemed the tree adorable, it was also created in honor of former Southwick Firefighter Badge #1 John McKay who died in June of this year. McKay’s wife, Lorraine, donated the firefighter themed ornaments that adorned the tree.

In third place was the Southern TriTown Girl Scouts’ tree. Located indoors, this tree featured ornaments made from the famous Girl Scout cookie boxes. A burlap ribbon garland was customized with the Girl Scout motto and a giant Samoa cookie tree topper.

Tree sponsors were: New England Chimney Sweeps, Southwick Police Association, Southwick Fire Association, Tynic Landscaping, Moolicious, Arrow Oil, Park & Rec, Westfield News & Reminder Publishing, Westfield Bank, Mrs. Murphy’s, Rick Foy Garage, The Meczywor Family, Terry Putnam, New England Disc Golf Center, The Mason Agency, Southern TriTown Girl Scouts and Southwick Community Episcopal Church.

The outdoor trees will be lit nightly through Dec. 26 from 6-8 p.m. and indoor trees can be viewed during Town Hall business hours.

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