Basket Tree kicks off parade night

MD-Crab basket tree_2x tree

Dorchester Banner/Paul Clipper
The crab basket Christmas tree was lighted for the first time just before the Christmas parade.

CAMBRIDGE — For the second year in a row, Cambridge Main Street constructed a crab basket Christmas tree on the corner of Race and Gay streets. The tree, created with 120 bushel baskets, came together in time to be lighted just before the start of Cambridge’s annual Christmas parade.

Cambridge Main Street Director Brandon Hesson assembled a crew and began building the tree on Friday morning. The assembly began with a plywood base, anchored with a concrete pylon in the center as a tie-down point to wind-proof the assembly. Then a ring of bushel baskets were formed, with one layer on top of another. As the tree neared its peak height, Mr. Hesson and his crew scrambled up the baskets like kids on a climbing wall.

“It’s just a big, gaudy, fun Christmas idea that we had, and I’m really glad everybody is entertained by it,” said Mr. Hesson. “RAMS sponsored the tree this year. Claytons and Lindy’s loaned us the baskets, and we had a number of volunteers show up and donate their time. Patrick Hurley is the volunteer of the year, for me! He shows up for everything, puts in a lot of hard work, and he spearheaded this whole construction job. But it’s truly a community effort — Choptank Charlie’s did the ornaments, and there’s a dozen Main Street businesses who had a hand in this.”

The tree was tastefully decorated with ribbons, bows and lights, and plugged in to power at 4:45 p.m., to the delight of the crowd assembled for the Christmas parade.

“What can I say about a Christmas tree made out of crab baskets? Well, it’s part of my heritage,” said Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley, “My family came from the water as well, in Crapo, and this is just an outstanding representation of what creative minds can do. I think it’s just so adorably cute! It’s huge! I was in Columbia, Md today, and I was telling the folks on the Western Shore about this, and they looked at me like I had 15 heads. I said, you’ve gotta come to Cambridge to see this.”

The Cambridge basket tree will remain in place through New Year’s day, and will be disassembled some time in January, weather permitting.

MD-Crab basket tree_2x construction

Construction began on Friday morning, and took all day long. Tyler Butler of WBOC provided television coverage of the build.

Paul Clipper is the editor of the Dorchester Banner. He can be reached at pclipper@newszap.com.

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