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February 11, 2016

Amherst to hold annual Merry Maple celebration

Evan Sahigian/Collegian File Photo

This evening, the town of Amherst will kick off the holiday season with its annual Merry Maple celebration.

The event will begin at 4:15 p.m. with horse-drawn carriage rides – supplied by Muddy Brook Farm – from downtown Amherst to the common, according to an article in the Daily Hampshire Gazette, and Atkins Farms Country Market will provide donuts and hot cider, according to the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce. Then, shortly after, the Amherst Middle School Chorus will perform on the steps of the Town Hall.

Inside the Town Hall, children will be able to get their faces painted and participate in arts and crafts activities.

Just before 5 p.m., the traditional Merry Maple tree lighting is expected to occur.

The Gazette reported that in addition to the lights on the trees, decorations created by local artist Nan Parati will be hung over streetlights along Main Street, South Pleasant Street, North Pleasant Street and Spring Street.

Before the tree lighting ceremony, the University of Massachusetts Marching Band will lead holiday sing-alongs, according to the Chamber of Commerce’s website.

A little before 6 p.m. the conclusion of the Merry Maple celebration will be highlighted by a visit from Santa Claus riding in an Amherst Fire Department engine.

The Hampshire Gazette reported that the Merry Maple event will also serve as a drop-off location for the Toy Drive of Family Outreach of Amherst, which collects new, unwrapped toys, games, and books for Amherst children in need.

The Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce sponsors the Merry Maple celebration, and the Business Improvement District provided additional lighting for the trees, according to the Hampshire Gazette.

Patrick Hoff can be reached at pphoff@student.umass.edu.

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