The Amherst Tree Lighting Festival is a celebration of December and Winter Holidays observed by Amherst, NH Residents.
All are welcome to join in the fun! Friday starts the weekend off with the Amherst Tree Lighting Ceremony with Readings and Song. Busy Santa makes a brief and merry appearance to Light up the tree! After the ceremony everyone goes in to warm up with the Lion's Club Spaghetti Supper. Multiple Festivities continue throughout Saturday and Sunday. Many Amherst organizations and businesses contribute to the merriment of the Amherst Tree Lighting Festival!
See the Schedule page for details!
You can also see who makes this all possible by going to the section: Special Thanks!
The Amherst Tree Lighting Festival is traditionally held the weekend that includes the second Sunday of the month of December in the town of Amherst, New Hampshire.
A wonderful 1965 article was republished in the editorial section on page 2 of the 12/2/14 issue of the Amherst Citizen. (reference to the Cabinet Dec.2, 1965 see below picture)
The Amherst Junior Women's Club developed the idea of the Tree Lighting in the same year the AJWC was founded in 1965 by Marion Sortevik and Carolyn Byrnes. The Tree Lighting started as a community-sing around the tree. As the years passed, it became more and more organized with increasing number of community events and activities. Ann Bergin became involved with the Tree Lighting with the AJWC in 1974 and worked it every year. When the AJWC no longer wanted to run it, they asked Ann Bergin to take it on and she did. In 2014 Ann retired her position as Chair of the Amherst Tree Lighting Festival. Michelle Arbogast is the current ATLF Chair. The Amherst Tree Lighting Festival is one of Amherst's great traditional events that brings the Amherst community together.
2014 was the 50th anniversary of the Amherst Tree Lighting Festival and the last year Ann Connell Bergan Chaired the Amherst Tree Lighting Festival and Ceremony. She has retired her ATLF duties to spend more time with her grandchildren.
How are the trees chosen for the Festival?
In the 1965 article above, the first tree was referred to as the "Community Tree". In 2004, the tree used for the Tree Lighting Festival was named the Richard Crocker Tree in honor of the past AFD Fire Chief and Road Agent.
Over the years many different trees have been strung with the traditional color Christmas lights for the Amherst Tree Lighting Festival. The tree eventually grows to be to large and unruly for it's purpose and a new tree is chosen. The Richard Crocker Tree plaque has been moved from tree to tree as a new tree is chosen for this purpose. This usually coencides with the Memory Tree (Maintained by the Amherst Garden Club) growing too big for it's purpose. The Garden club gets a new Memory Tree and the Old Memory Tree becomes the Richard Crocker Tree. The old Richard Crocker Tree becomes one of the many pines that shade the Amherst Town Green and WWI memorial area. The Crocker Tree is lit with colored lights and the Memory tree is lit with white lights. More about the Memory tree: https://amherstgardenclub.org/giving/