This Saturday at 5 p.m. — right after the Wakeman Town Farm/Gilbertie’s Herb Gardens Christmas tree and greenery sale — everyone in town is invited to a Christmas tree lighting. There’s a bonfire and hot chocolate too.
It’s billed as the “1st annual” event. But really, trees have been lit at the Town Farm on Cross Highway for years.
Let Bill Constantino — a 1986 Staples grad — tell the tale:
First my great-grandparents, then my grandparents Ike and Pearl Wakeman, owned Wakeman Farms. They served Connecticut and New York for a very long time.
Granted I’m only 44, but the traditions and family values that have been ingrained in me will be passed on to my girls and their families for generations.
I have countless memories of “The Farm.” Many years ago we started a tradition of lighting the hemlock tree on the corner of the driveway. It started one night about 2 weeks after Thanksgiving with my grandparents and various uncles, aunts and cousins who decided to decorate the tree on the side of the house.
We wanted to light up the sky, and allow our family and friends to see this beautiful tree when they came by to visit over the holidays.
The tree wasn’t as big as it is today. Nevertheless, when we started, we didn’t have enough lights. So my grandmother, mother and aunts ran to every store in the area to gather enough lights to go around the tree.
That, of course, left my grandfather, father, uncles and cousins to talk about anything and everything. They traded stories about “The Farm.” It was a great family bonding experience.
Over the years, different family and friends have decorated the tree. Sometimes we contacted the Westport News. They took pictures of the lit tree, and put it on the front page of the paper.
Now the torch has passed to the newly extended Wakeman Town Farm family. There are new traditions to be forged, certainly…but with some old traditions to be honored as well.
It’s the next best thing my grandparents, mother and family would have wanted.