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Second annual tree lighting ceremony brightens up Boston Square community

A little cold didn’t keep the community away from this new annual tradition
Rashell (left) and James Ross of Grand Rapids reprise their rolls as the Boston Square Santa and Mrs. Clause for the second year

Rashell (left) and James Ross of Grand Rapids reprise their rolls as the Boston Square Santa and Mrs. Clause for the second year /George Wietor

The second annual Boston Square community Christmas tree

The second annual Boston Square community Christmas tree /George Wietor

An estimated 350 - 400 Boston Square neighbors braved the bitter 28° weather on Saturday night to share food, be entertained, snap photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus, and witness the lighting of the second annual Boston Square Neighborhood Christmas tree. 

The event, held at the Boston Square Community Parklet (1501 Kalamazoo SE), is a collaboration between Boston Square Neighborhood Association, Amplify GR, and a variety of other area neighborhood organizations and businesses. Over 46 partners and sponsors, with Modern Hardware as the presenting sponsor, came together to make the event free for the neighborhood and keep a modern tradition going.

“I grew up in Boston Square, and it’s been a dream for my mom and I, who also lives in the neighborhood…  to create an annual holiday tradition,” said Jenny Luth of Amplify GR. “Last year was the first and everyone was super excited about it and created a ton of pride for neighbors in the community to celebrate with each other.” 

In addition to the tree lighting, the night featured food from neighborhood standbys like 7 Mares Restaurant , as well as pop-up oriented eateries like Taste of Africa, Peach Cobbler and Rib Tips, Robinson’s Popcorn, and cookies from Brown Sugar Bakeries. Hot cocoa, tea, and coffee flowed all night from the Pretty Bitty Bar Co. trailer. 

“Diversity is the biggest driving factor for why people love this neighborhood so we wanted to have diverse food and drink,” Luth said. “That is why we wanted to have African food, that’s why we had Mexican food, that’s why we had soul food. We just wanted it to feel like we could celebrate all different people and that people could get to know their neighbors and different styles of how people celebrate the holidays.

In addition to the tree lighting and food, there was a praise dance performance by Xpressions of Praise Christian Dance Arts Academy and a special recognition of Miss Loretta Brown, a prominent volunteer and member of the Boston Square community. 

“She’s awesome,” Said Victor Williams, president of the Boston Square Neighborhood Association, of Brown. “She’s a resident that’s always around. She’s involved in a lot of committees and she’s just always trying to be as much help as she possibly can to everybody and is super positive and we wanted to recognize her and make sure she feels the appreciation we all have for her.” 

“That’s something we are going to continue to do every year,” Williams continued. “Just recognize different neighbors for their work in helping build this community into what we all need it to be.”

Learn more about the second annual Boston Square Community Tree Lighting event and the Boston Square Neighborhood Association on Facebook

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