The 19th annual Christmas tree burning at Mack’s Moose Hill Orchards Farm Stand will take place on Jan. 4.
According to Joanne Iovino, new committee chair for Boy Scout Troop 521, trees will be accepted at the front of the stand in the parking lot from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. that day. There is no charge, but donations to the troop are welcome.
“This is our primary fundraiser for the troop,” she said, noting donations will be used for troop activities.
The bonfire starts at dusk, usually around 5 p.m., Iovino said.
Assistant Scoutmaster Dave MacCulloch said the tree burning was begun because 19 years ago, his 14-year-old son was looking for something to do for his Eagle Scout project.
“Drew went to Captain David Spahn, who was in the Londonderry Fire Department at the time,” MacCulloch recalled. “Capt. Spahn said that after Christmas, a lot of trees ended up in the woods and backyards, and suggested a tree burn and (said) Drew should contact the town. We did, and also environmental people, and the tree burn was begun.”
He said that as many as 1,500 trees were burned that year.
“There were calls made that were asking about that ‘big fire’ in Londonderry,” he said. “You could see the flames from I-93.”
MacCulloch’s son aged out of the Boy Scouts a long time ago, but MacCulloch has remained with the troop.
“The people bring in the trees at the front of the stand and the Scouts will be there to take it off the car and drag it to the back by the duck pond and put it on the pile,” he explained. “People are welcome to stay and watch the bonfire – there will be hot chocolate and hot dogs, hot cider and chili for sale.”
MacCulloch noted the fire department is at the scene during the bonfire.
“I start the bonfire along with a couple of the oldest boys in the troop; it has become somewhat of a tradition. It really is a lot of fun,” MacCulloch said.