Bushel Basket Christmas Tree is bigger and better

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Special to Dorchester Banner/Jill Jasuta
This year’s Bushel Basket Christmas Tree will be bigger and better than last year’s original pictured here. It will be built in the Craig’s Drug Store parking lot on the corner of Gay and Race streets today, to be lit prior to Saturday evening’s Cambridge-Dorchester County Christmas Parade at 5 p.m.

CAMBRIDGE – This year’s Bushel Basket Christmas Tree will be bigger and better than last year’s original. The inventive twist on this holiday icon will be built in the Craig’s Drug Store parking lot on the corner of Gay and Race streets today, to be lit prior to Saturday evening’s Cambridge-Dorchester County Christmas Parade at 5 p.m.

This year’s tree will be made from 175 baskets from both The J.M. Clayton Company and Lindy’s Seafood. The decorative tree topper, as well as all of the tree’s ornaments crafted from reclaimed buoys, are made by Jack Helgeson, owner of Choptank Charlie’s Emporium on Poplar Street.

This year’s tree is planned to stand three rows higher, and while it will be decorated more than last year’s tree, Cambridge Main Street Executive Director Brandon Hesson says it is important that the tree still reflect the hard-working heritage of the Dorchester County waterman.

“It’s really easy to get caught up in the holidays and want to turn this tree into some elaborately decorated thing in the center of town, but it can be beautiful without being overdone,” said Mr. Hesson. “The baskets still smell like crab and have crab pieces in them. The ornaments have barnicles growing on them. We’re taking something cracked, beaten, weathered and stinky, and turning it into something beautiful that people are proud of.”

Last year’s inaugural tree was a bit of a gamble. Even Mr. Hesson wasn’t sure exactly how it would turn out. This year, support has been easier to get.

Resource Asset Management Solutions (RAMS), located at 401 Academy St., sponsored the costs of lights and other materials. Bay Country Communications and Kelly Excavating will also be on hand with bucket trucks to help decorate the higher portions of the tree. Simmons Center Market will provide some structural materials, and E.S. Hubbert & Son helped source other materials. Henley Moore and Floofie Films has provided promotional support.

“It’s funny, because last year I felt like everyone needed a little convincing. I got a lot of sideways glances, and I can’t blame them, because it sounded like a crazy idea to me every time it came out of my mouth. It had never been done before, so there wasn’t an example to point towards,” said Mr. Hesson. “This year has been a lot easier. It’s a community effort and everyone I have spoken to wants to help. I’ve also seen it work once, so unlike last year, I am mostly able to sleep through the night as we get closer.”

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