Making spirits bright
Each December, Taunton, Mass., celebrates the arrival of the holiday season with a radiant display of lights and decorations erected on the historic, one-acre Taunton Green located in the center of town. The light display, which began in 1914 to help revive the fledgling downtown shopping district, was 35 years old when The American City reported on the annual event in 1949. That year, the display, which was coordinated by the city’s Park Department and the Municipal Lighting Plant Commission, featured a rotating Santa and his reindeer sliding down a 45-foot-high ice cap covered with snow, as well as 2,500 Christmas trees and 3,000 lights. Thousands of Taunton residents and nearby New Englanders came to experience what Mayor John Parker called “a fairyland of color and brilliance.”
More than 50 years later, thousands still flock to the center of Taunton during the holiday season. This year, in conjunction with the city’s Building Department, the Parks, Cemeteries and Public Grounds Department, which coordinates the exhibition, will display a large fireplace with Santa descending from the chimney. Also, Christmas stockings will hang from the fireplace mantle aside candles and garland — a culmination of holiday season delights.