Downtown Athol to glow with holiday lights 

  • Volunteers unpack lights and other items as they prepare to decorate downtown Athol’s Veterans Park for the holidays. A dozen or so volunteers took part in the effort, which took place last Saturday morning. PHOTO BY GREG VINE

  • Among the volunteers who spruced up Athol’s Veterans Park with holiday decorations were Eric Leichtweis (r), who was accompanied by his daughter Elizabeth, 11, and son Aiden, 13. PHOTO BY GREG VINE

  • Rebecca Bialecki (r), Athol Selectboard and Holiday Decorating Committee member, organizes the unloading of holiday decorations brought to Veterans Park by an Athol DPW truck. About a dozen volunteers decorated the park last Saturday. PHOTO BY GREG VINE

For the Athol Daily News 
Published: 11/21/2022 3:18:57 PM
Modified: 11/21/2022 3:19:18 PM

ATHOL — A dozen or so volunteers gathered in the center of Athol on Saturday morning to string holiday lights and place decorations around Veterans Park. The previous day, employees of the Department of Public Works decorated Main Street with strings of lights, pole mounts, skylines, and other colorful items.

The fruits of all that work will be made obvious this coming weekend when all the lights are switched on, illuminating downtown Athol in a cheery holiday glow.

Saturday’s work at Veterans Park was organized by Selectboard member Rebecca Bialecki and other members of the town’s Holiday Decorating Committee, including Sarah Collins, Ann Willhite, Diane DiPietro, Becky Henry, Jamie Cleveland and Raenette Kramer. DiPietro and Willhite were unable to take part in the decorating effort since each was busy running their respective businesses on Main Street.

A number of young people also showed up to help decorate the park.

Said Bialecki, “It’s nice to have committee members with teenage sons. Some of us are getting a little older and can’t be climbing up ladders to string lights.”

Among the volunteers was Eric Leichtweis, his 11-year-old daughter Elizabeth, and his 13-year-old son Aiden. Leicthweis works at the North Quabbin Recovery Center and is a member of Athol’s Community Emergency Response team. He said he thinks it’s important to help out in the community when he can and wants to send that same message to his children.

As for his part, Aiden said he’d probably be home playing video games on a normal Saturday morning, while Elizabeth said she’d likely just be kicking back and relaxing.

Bialecki said the official holiday lighting will take place this Saturday at 4:30 p.m. A “public safety parade,” including vehicles of the fire, police, and public works departments will move from Town Hall to Veterans Park, where Santa Claus will be handing out candy canes.

The vice chairwoman of the Selectboard said she was following through on a commitment she made at last week’s board meeting, when she stated if the town scheduled an official lighting ceremony she would plan it.

Naturally, people who plan to attend the parade and lighting are being encouraged to stop in and patronize local stores and restaurants on Main Street in recognition of Small Business Saturday


Greg Vine can be reached at 

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