Winchester gets gussied up for its biggest evening of the year

Nathan Arsenault of Logtens Tree Service fastens one of Winchester's downtown wreaths to a hydro pole yesterday (Nov. 28) as the community prepares for its 20th annual Parade of Lights this Saturday, Dec. 3. Zandbergen photo, Nation Valley News

Nelson Zandbergen
Nation Valley News

Vince Zandbelt (left) and Owne Shortt, with some of the wreaths visible down Winchester's Main Street. Zandbergen photo, Nation Valley News

Vince Zandbelt (left) and Owen Shortt, with some of the wreaths visible down Winchester’s Main Street. Zandbergen photo, Nation Valley News

WINCHESTER — This Saturday’s 20th annual North Dundas Parade of Lights coincides with an ongoing flurry of beautification activities and fundraiser activities by Winchester’s Downtown Revitalization Committee.

The village was being suitably primped and preened, early this week, in advance of the grand occasion that fills Winchester’s streets with a rumbling cavalcade of farm machinery, trucks, floats and other vehicles festooned with glowing Christmas lights.

The Committee’s Vince Zandbelt and Owen Shortt watched intently Nov. 28 as a pair of Logtens Tree Service workers used a cherry picker to fasten 14 large wreaths onto village utility poles.

It’s the third consecutive year for the wreath program in Winchester, where individual merchants have voluntarily ponied up for the growing inventory of decorations. “We added six this year,” says Zandbelt of the approximately $800-a-piece lighted wreaths, each automatically switched on at nightfall by a built in photocell. They could add several more in the future as demand warrants, he adds.

The township handles the installation of the wreaths by supplying a contractor, while Zandbelt and Shortt lend assistance from the ground as volunteers on this day. New multi-purpose brackets went up as part of this year’s wreath install, to serve holders for stylized red flags that will fly in Winchester for Canada’s 150th anniversary next year.

In advance of the parade, the Committee is also using Winchester’s higher profile to promote its annual Dream Vacation draw tickets, with net proceeds split between itself — for future revitalization efforts —  and various participating groups. Those beneficiaries include the North Dundas Rockets, the Winchester Skating Club, the Mountain Lions Club and Deaf & Blind. Ten thousand dollars’ worth of travel-related prizes are set to be given away in a series of six draws later this winter — starting with a $350 Winchester Travel gift certificate on Dec. 15. (Buy tickets at $50 apiece from Winchester Travel, Annable’s Jewellery, Main Street Clothing, Paddletales, any Winchester Downtown Revitalization Committee member, the Mountain Lions Club, the Winchester Figure Skating Club, the North Dundas Rockets Hockey Club, and the WDMH Foundation.)

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Owen Shortt (left) and Vince Zandbelt of the Winchester Downtown Revitalization Committee, with Dream Vacation draw tickets that are an important fundraiser for the group. The men pose on the brick walkway at Sweet Corner Park, where they say bricks remain available to be sponsored and personalized with name engravings. Zandbergen photo, Nation Valley News

The group also continues to push for a final improvement underfoot at Sweet Corner Park, where personalized interlocking bricks remain available for sponsorship, according to Shortt and Zandbelt. Update: sponsor bricks in 9×9-inch and 12×12-inch sizes for $100 and $150, respectively — at Annable’s Jewellery, Winchester travel, Paddletales or any revitalization committee member.

Forward to next spring and Winchester should be abloom with Canadian colour, as a slew of tulip bulbs sprout from flower beds as a precursor to the country’s sesquicentennial next year. Donated by Home Hardware through Lannin Lumber in honour of the nation’s 150th, volunteers planted the bulbs at Sweet Corner Park and the Scented Garden earlier this fall.

But first, Winchester shows its Christmas colour and spirit at the Parade of Lights this Saturday. The floats disembark at 7 p.m. from North Dundas municipal headquarters and head north on their journey through the village. The village makes a whole day of the celebratory occasion. See the schedule of events.

Another sign the Parade of Lights is around the corner: Logtens Tree Service puts up evergreen bunting bows on the building adjacent Sweet Corner Park. Courtesy photo

Another sign the Parade of Lights is around the corner: Logtens Tree Service puts up evergreen bunting bows on the building adjacent Sweet Corner Park. Courtesy photo

 

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Carrie Keller (left) and Caroline Rooney plant tulip bulbs at scented garden. Courtesy photo

 


Spotlight — North Dundas Parade of Lights 2016

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