Oh, it's happening -- Midcoast's popular holiday tree

By Beth A. Birmingham | Nov 14, 2018
Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham As the flag atop 250 Main Hotel in Rockland whips in the wind, a volunteer works diligently setting a trap in place during construction of the Lobster Trap Tree Nov. 14.

Rockland — Despite winds gusting up to 50 mph, making the already cold temperatures feel more like 8 degrees, the Lobster Trap Tree took shape Nov. 14 in Rockland's Mildred Merrill Park.

Members of Rockland Main Street Inc., Rockland Coast Guard, Bolduc Correctional Facility and various community volunteers were hard at work assembling the traditional tree using 154 traps, 125 buoys, 480 feet of garland entwined with 2,500 twinkle lights, and a plethora of zip ties.

At 10 a.m., Rockland Main Street Executive Director Gordon Page was pondering whether or not to cease construction until another day, but everyone seemed to want to move forward for as long as possible.

By 2 p.m., the decision was made to complete the final touches of lighting and buoys on Saturday, Nov. 17, at 10 a.m.

The final structure stands 40 feet high, after the 5-foot-tall fiberglass lobster is secured at the top of the traps. The lobster is donated each year by Liberty Hospitality of Maine and the Liberty family at the Trade Winds Motor Inn.

This is the second year in 15 years that a man lift, donated by Journey's End Marina, was used to get the specially made lobster traps in place, and the third year for the lobster topper.

At the same time as the trap tree construction, inmates from Bolduc Correctional Facility in Warren were busy putting up more than 125 wreaths along Main and Park streets, with the help of Rockland Public Works crews. Crews also sprinkled strings of lights on live trees along the route.

Brooks Trap Mill of Thomaston builds the lobster traps specially for the annual event and donates a portion of the traps for use, and then Rockland Main Street Inc. purchases the rest of them for its annual lobster trap raffle.

Two sets of 50 traps will be available in the raffle, with tickets sold at $50 for two chances to win either a set of traps or $2,250 cash. Only 500 tickets will be sold, available at Brooks Trap Mill, Hamilton Marine, Camden National Bank, First National Bank, Rockland Savings Bank, Bar Harbor Bank & Trust, Grasshopper Shop of Rockland and Archipelago. All proceeds benefit Rockland Main Street Inc.'s community events.

The buoys used to decorate the tree are donated by local fishermen and -women.

Santa Claus arrives by Coast Guard boat at Buoy Park (the middle pier) at noon Friday, Nov. 23. And from 12:30 to 3 p.m. he will greet children at his workshop in Mildred Merrill Park.

The tree will be illuminated Nov. 23 at 6 p.m. during the annual Festival of Lights, with Santa Claus throwing the switch with the help of some other special guests.

The Festival of Lights celebration and its various components, which run from Nov. 23 through Nov. 25, is a production of Rockland Main Street. The major sponsor is the Island Institute.

A complete schedule of events for the three days is online at rocklandmainstreet.com.

Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or via email at bbirmingham@villagesoup.com.

Rockland trap tree
Bundled and ready, volunteers work at constructing the Lobster Trap Tree at Mildred Merrill Park in Rockland Nov. 14. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Battling winds and cold temperatures, volunteers make strides at erecting the Lobster Trap Tree Nov. 14. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Rockland Main Street Inc. Executive Director Gordon Page, left, discusses the possibility of postponing the rest of the construction of the Lobster Trap Tree because of high winds Nov. 14. Final touches of lights and buoys will be completed Saturday, Nov. 17. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Wreaths await placement along Main Street in Rockland Nov. 14. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
The fiberglass lobster is secured in preparation of being placed atop the Lobster Trap Tree Nov. 14. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Some of the last traps are off-loaded Nov. 14 as volunteers construct the trap tree in Mildred Merrill Park. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Rockland Public Works' Todd Philbrook adds some strings of lights to a tree on Main Street Nov. 14. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
The view from inside the Lobster Trap Tree before garland, lights, and buoys are added. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Another round of wreaths make their way down Rockland's Main Street Nov. 14. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Volunteer Tom Rizzo readies things on the inside of the Lobster Trap Tree Nov. 14. Final touches will be completed Nov. 17. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Heather Burns Tarbox secures one of the specially-made traps to the Lobster Trap Tree Nov. 14. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Nearly complete is the Lobster Trap Tree Nov. 14. The lights and buoys are scheduled to be placed on the tree Saturday, Nov. 17. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Comments (3)
Posted by: Donald Mills | Nov 15, 2018 09:35

I really like that special construction, and look forward each year to the newest model!

Don Mills

Posted by: Donald Mills | Nov 15, 2018 09:25

adjective: infamous
  1. well known for some bad quality or deed.
    "an infamous war criminal"
    synonyms: notorious, disreputable; More
    legendary, fabled, famed
    "an infamous train robber"
    antonyms: reputable
    • wicked; abominable.
      "the medical council disqualified him for infamous misconduct"
      synonyms: abominable, outrageous, shocking, shameful, disgraceful, dishonorable, discreditable, contemptible, unworthy; More
      monstrous, atrocious, nefarious, appalling, dreadful, terrible, heinous, egregious, detestable, despicable, loathsome, hateful, vile, unspeakable, unforgivable, iniquitous, scandalous;
      informaldirty, filthy, lowdown
      "infamous misconduct"
      antonyms: honorable
    • historicalLaw
      (of a person) deprived of all or some citizens' rights as a consequence of conviction for a serious crime.
Sorry about that. It is an often made unintentional error made in many published articles.
Don Mills

Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Nov 14, 2018 15:44

Great tradition! Kudos to the volunteers. What's with the face hair Gordy? Looking good anyway!

Happy Holidays from sunny Arizona.

Mary "Mickey" (Brown) McKeever +:)

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