|Courtesy: Nancy Kennedy|
Trees strung with hundreds of holiday lights at the Town Hall mall have been visited during the past several months by squirrels that chewed through the commercial grade wires.
This has resulted in a postponement of Braintree’s lighting ceremony planned for Dec. 5 at 4 p.m. with Mayor Joseph Sullivan and hundreds of residents in attendance.
The town has ordered several hundred additional strings of lights so they can be positioned on several of the tall oak trees in the mall in advance of the ceremony that has been rescheduled for Dec. 12 at 4 p.m.
When Department of Public Works Director Thomas Whalen electrified all of the lights on the trees this week, he discovered that more than half of the lights wouldn’t work. An inspection found that many of the wires had been severed.
“We’ve worked with our friends at Curry Hardware to find us some replacement tree lights, and a new shipment coming from North Carolina should be arriving in town for hanging early next week,” Whalen said. “In the meantime, we’ll strive to make the trees off limits to any squirrels before they can damage any more lights.”
Last year’s tree lighting ceremony was the first held at the mall in about 10 years, and Sullivan committed to restoring this event each December, Director of Recreation and Community Events William Hedlund recalled.
“We thought we were all set for Dec. 5, but the prolific number of squirrels eating away at the tree light wires caused this unexpected delay,” Hedlund said. “We are up to the challenge of having a bigger and better festive lighting program on Dec. 12 instead.”
Everyone is encouraged to attend, enjoy hot chocolate, and get seasonal candy canes while music is piped throughout the mall before the ceremony that will illuminate the trees on the south end of the facility all night long throughout the holiday season.
“We never anticipated that hundreds of visiting squirrels who have romped about the mall over the past several months would use their voracious appetites on the electrical wires hanging overhead, but now we can learn from our recent discovery and do our best to prevent this from ever happening again,” Sullivan said. “We refuse to allow this temporary setback to dampen our spirit as a community.”