TOWNSEND -- Usually, the finishing touch in holiday tree decorating is putting the star on top.

This year, Townsend's gazebo got a refurbished spire before the rest of the holiday decorations arrived. The crew from the Cemetery and Parks Department removed the iron spire to paint it and clean it up.

The crowning piece of the structure needed some spiffing-up after nearly 115 years on the job, Superintendent Roger Rapoza said as he guided the men reinstalling the finial.

The project was not part of the regular maintenance of the common.

"It's never been off in my tenure," the superintendent said. Rapoza has supervised the department for seven years.

Not only is the spire is restored, the flagpole attached to it is new and improved, he said.

The previous pole was flimsy and could not withstand a strong wind. This one is sturdier and will remain with the spire on top of the building.

But, the flag is for Memorial Day. During the winter holiday season, the gazebo now sports a star, lit along the edges.

Rapoza found the old star for the gazebo in the attic at the cemetery garage about four years ago. He used it as a pattern for the new star.

It was quite a job hauling the heavy spire up the ladder to reinstall it, Rapoza said. Some guys pulled, others pushed.

Once the spire and pole were firmly reattached to the roof, it was time to add the star. The process might sound familiar to anyone who has set up a tree or hung a picture with someone watching.


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At first it was too low on the pole, then it wasn't quite even.

As the guys started to leave the roof, Rapoza called for one more correction. The industrial-grade extension cord needed to be routed behind the star, not left in front and blocking the lights.

Cleanup was the final step in preparing the gazebo for the holiday. The floor was littered with plastic bottles, wrappers and leaves. The crew quickly took care of the mess.

Preparing the gazebo is the first step for the remainder of the holiday events on the common.

The Lions Club has already set up the tree sale at the back of the common.

The annual tree-lighting ceremony is scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 2 at 5 p.m.

The event is a collaboration between the Townsend Ecumenical Outreach, the Townsend Business Association and local churches.

The TBA does the lighting. The TEO will prepare a Hobo Stew for dinner. The churches put together a caroling program, Don Ouellette of the TEO said.

The churches rotate; this year the Methodist Church will host the performance and supper.

The holiday event is free.