Gloucester’s annual Santa Parade and treelighting on Sunday will get a two-week jump on the lighting of the Lobster Trap Christmas Tree, but the latter is taking shape.
The roots of the Lobster Trap Christmas Tree, a project coordinated through Art Haven Studio, were put down Friday next door to the police station and Gloucester District Court building on Main Street.
Three Lantern Marine and Fishing shop on Parker Street delivered 210 traps to build the core of the showpiece. And, Three Lantern’s Matt Sheppard said, another 150 traps will be dropped off Saturday.
“We had done 350,” said Sheppard, whose father, Skip Sheppard, owns and operates the Three Lantern shop. “Then we had 357 or 358, and they made the top a little more creative,” he added, “so we figured we’d go right to 360 this year.”
The construction of the tree by volunteers is merely one step toward the finished product and the Lobster Trap Christmas Tree lighting ceremony, set for Saturday, Dec. 14, at 4:30 p.m. following the Middle Street Walk.
Between now and then, local schoolchildren will paint many of the buoys that decorate the tree, with painting sessions set for 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Monday at East Gloucester Elementary School, then from 3:30 to 5 p.m. next Tuesday through Friday at the studio for West Parish, Beeman, Plum Cove and Rockport elementary schools, respectively. There’s an open day for everyone Saturday, 10 a.m. to noon, and then Dec. 9 for Manchester and Essex elementary students and Dec. 10 for O’Maley students, both 3:30 to 5 p.m. Sessions for adults are Dec 3 and 10, 6 to 8 p.m. After New Year’s, the buoys are auctioned off as a fundraiser for Art Haven.
Matt Sheppard said Three Lantern is still negotiating with its partner — the Brooks Trap Mill, which makes the traps and supplies them to Tree Lantern from its headquarters in Thomaston, Maine — about auctioning off the traps used in the tree as another benefit. He said he hopes to have that deal firmed up within the next week.
“We’re glad just to be part of it every year,” he said. This marks the fourth year Three Lantern has donated traps for what has become one of Gloucester’s iconic holiday features. “It’s a great project every year.”
AIDS quilt panels visit
The North Shore Health Project, located in the heart of Gloucester, is holding a public event on Sunday to display special panels from the AIDS Memorial Quilt.
Susan Gould Coviello, executive director of the North Shore Health Project, said that in honor of World AIDS Day and 30 years of the North Shore Health Project, the project is eager to display Cape Ann-specific portions of the AIDS Quilt during December, beginning on Sunday, Dec. 1. The public is invited to the welcoming reception at Kyrouz Auditorium at City Hall at 2 p.m. on Sunday.
“If you are unable to attend, come in during City Hall business hours to spend time with these beautiful works of art, love and dignity,” Coviello said. “Join us as we remember loved ones immortalized on this significant piece of art.”
There will be three quilts, which are 12 feet by 12 feet, and each is made up of six panels, with each panel representing people with Cape Ann or North Shore Health Project connections who have died.
Coviello said these quilts are coming home to Gloucester for December. At Sunday’s reception, the names of the people on the quilts will be read and stories will be shared, along with refreshments.
These quilts are part of The Names Project, also known as the AIDS Memorial Quilt, which when put together is made up of 54 tons of fabrics, 48,000 individual panels and represents 94,000 individuals, noted Coviello.
Since 1987, The Names Project has cared for The AIDS Memorial Quilt and served as stewards of the memorial.
Coviello thanked the Boston Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and Awesome Gloucester for their financial sponsorship.
She noted that if all the quilts were laid out, it would fill the Washington Mall. The last time it was displayed in its entirety was in the late 1990s.
The North Shore Health Project mission states that the agency “offers a harm reduction model that encourages people affected by or at risk for HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C and/or substance use disorder to benefit from our support services, case management and advocacy efforts.”
Ray Lamont, who came to the Gloucester Daily Times in 2008 as editor, retired Friday as the paper’s city issues reporter.
Publisher Karen Andreas and the staff hosted a party for Lamont, where colleagues, friends, and politicians feted the veteran journalist. He received a Bulova mantel clock as a gift, plus proclamations from Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken on behalf of the city, State Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr and state Rep. Ann- Margaret Ferrante, for their respective branches of the Legislature, that recognized Lamont’s work making sure the news of the community made it into the paper.
Besides the mayor, among those in attendance were Ward 4 City Councilor Val Gilman, School Committee member Kathleen Clancy, The Open Door Executive Director Julie LaFontaine, former Gloucester Fishermen head Dick Wilson, and Gloucester House restaurateur Lenny Linquata.