Cities, towns find ways to keep with holiday traditions despite - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Cities, towns find ways to keep with holiday traditions despite cuts

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Holiday decorations will still be placed inside Hartford City Hall despite budget cuts (WFSB) Holiday decorations will still be placed inside Hartford City Hall despite budget cuts (WFSB)
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

Keeping up with holiday traditions isn’t easy right now for towns and cities on a tight budget.

But instead of giving up on that extra bit of holiday cheer, some are rallying their neighbors for help.

The poinsettias at Hartford City Hall were on the line for this year because of the city’s financial constraints. It was a holiday tradition of at least 75 years.

However, one woman decided she was going to turn to the community through social media to make it happen.

“Well it was sad the idea that you would actually lose this tradition after so many years. For a city worker who is, I’m sorry, pretty stressed out right now, I thought that would be an absolute shame,” said Donna Swarr, of the Hartford Parks & Rec Advisory commission.

She said she wasn’t going to let this tradition die, and turned to pages like GoFundMe to spread the word. She eventually surpassed garnering the $1,800 goal.

Now they’re encouraging everyone to come take a picture with the tree, starting Dec. 1.

Over in Marlborough, volunteer firefighters are gearing up for the town’s gathering on the green.

The holiday event on Dec. 9 has a lighted fire truck parade, a visit with Santa and a tree lighting. It's free, and held from 4 to 6 p.m.

The firefighters adopted the event after it almost fell apart a few years ago, and they decided to add a little extra flare at the end.

“We have a family that we decide is either having a tough time or someone sick in their family or whatever reason, and they’re the ones who light the Christmas tree with the switch and immediately following the lighting the fireworks start,” said Mark Merritt, a rescue captain for the Marlborough Fire Department.

The fireworks aren’t funded.

Merritt says they’re raising money for the big holiday-themed light show in the sky and hope people will pitch in.

“Everybody talks about it in town, everybody comments on the GoFundMe page after they donate about how it’s a great community event. It’s nice to have it in Marlborough so it’s worth it for us,” Merritt said.

Whether or not the Marlborough Fire Department reaches their $5,000 goal, they say they will definitely still have their fireworks display for the gathering on the green.

The GoFundMe can be found here.

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