Town manager Don Turner Jr. hangs an ornament on the Milton community tree last Saturday in preparation for this weekend’s lighting. (Photo by Kaylee Sullivan)

With a little help from our friends last weekend, the Milton Independent’s tree is officially ready for primetime.

The Indy invites Miltonians young and old to the 5th Annual Milton Community Tree Lighting this Saturday, Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. sharp at the Hannaford plaza.

A crew assembled last Saturday, grateful for the above-freezing temps – which are also expected for the main event.

Just after 8 a.m., Allen Densmore of Milton’s Building Home Center arrived at 448 Route 7 with his boom truck, ready to load the 20-foot evergreen donated by local developer and Miltonian Billy Sawyer. Densmore looks forward to the event and even dressed up this year, donning a snowman hat with blinking lights.

Chainsaw in hand, Bub Cross took to the trunk, felling it with ease. This wasn’t the first year he was recruited by his nephew and our go-to helper, Don Turner Jr., for the task.

Densmore trucked the tree to the town center, where our buried tree stand lay in wait. Thanks to plaza owner Ernie Pomerleau, the PVC pipe provides a semi-permanent home for the tree, saving us the trouble of digging through frozen ground.

As Cross shaved the trunk down to size, Turner Jr.’s fellow fireman Tony Lauzon stopped by after a call to see what the fuss was about. He put his engineering skills to work, helping fit the round trunk into a smaller round hole. Additional moral support and muscle came from Milton police Officer Ed Larente, who helped get the tree upright.

Then, it was time to get to decorating. Milton police Sgt. Paul Locke, his wife, Lorraine; and dog, Beans, jumped right in, with Paul hopping aboard the cherry picker donated by Milton Rental. Don Turner Sr. reminded us he had to get it back by noon, so we went to it.

Luckily, the adage “many hands make light work” rings true. And many hands did we have.

Our newest employee, Ben Chiappinelli, brought a veritable family reunion to the site, enlisting his wife, Julie; kids Manny and Susy and in-laws Peter and Joan Smith to help.

Susi was especially excited and reveled in the opportunity to tell her classmates about her upcoming weekend plans. Not everyone gets to say they’re decorating a 20-foot Christmas tree, after all.

A large gang of people dedicated to Milton make the lighting an event to remember. (Photo by Courtney Lamdin)

And the decorating went a lot smoother, thanks to the net-style lights Don Jr.’s mom, Nancy, found for us at the United Church of Milton Thrift Shop. Instead of winding around the tree, turn after turn, we draped them in a curtain of bulbs.

Next, we trimmed the higher boughs with ornaments, donated by members of the community over the years. But don’t fret: We saved some baubles for the kids to hang this weekend.

We hope you join us for cocoa from Hillside Creamery, cookies from Madeleine’s Bakery, wonderment from the lighted SD Ireland truck, music from Karlo Salminen, Cub Scouts and members of the Milton Community Band and magic from Santa Claus and his elves, Kym and Ben from Milton Rec.

The forecast is for above-freezing, so fingers crossed it stays that way.

Now if we could only get some snow.

The 5th Annual Milton Community Tree Lighting is set for Saturday, Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. sharp, so come early to enjoy the festivities before we flip the switch.