Camden Garden Club has provided winter holiday cheer to the downtown lampposts for the past 70 years. Beginning in 1950, evergreens and red berries filled the baskets. Over time the club experimented with real trees, artificial trees, pine cones, chestnuts, tinsel, strings of red and green lights and red plastic bows before settling on fresh balsam wreaths, strings of white lights and red velvet bows in 1971.
Earlier this year, due to the health emergency, Camden Garden Club made the difficult but responsible decision to cancel its Garden & Home Tour scheduled for July. A portion of the proceeds from this major fundraiser covers the cost of the annual holiday display. In early September an email was sent to the membership suggesting that they could help their club budget by personally sponsoring one or more of the wreaths. Participation was voluntary and the response was remarkable. By October 21 enough money was raised to cover the cost of sixty plus wreaths.
In the past, club members have gathered together in early November to create the large red velvet bows that embellish each wreath, but social distancing guidelines meant this year it would have to be done individually or in very small groups. Once again this enthusiast bunch stepped up, divided the task and got it done.
At 8 a.m. on November 18, the wreaths were delivered to the American Legion Hall parking lot and a small group of volunteer members and supporters got busy attaching a red velvet bow to each one – the final step before Camden town workers collect the wreaths and hang them on the lampposts. As a cost saving measure this year the club voted to forego adding strings of white lights, just as they did between 1973 and 1979 during the energy crisis. However, Camden’s new LED street lamps are expected to shine down brightly and create the traditional holiday magic for all to enjoy.
Camden Garden Club is a member of the Garden Club Federation of Maine and National Garden Clubs, Inc. For more information about the club and its activities visit the club’s website www.CamdenGardenClub.org or contact CamdenGardenClub100@gmail.com.