Lobster Pot Tree shines bright in 2020

Thu, 11/26/2020 - 6:00pm

Several weeks ago, Turtle Hatfield and his wife, Heather, started getting questions from the island community worried that the Covid-19 virus would prevent them from constructing the Lobster Pot Christmas Tree this year. No way was Turtle and his crew going to let the virus deprive everyone of this ten-year tradition.

Life is different this year. So was constructing the lobster pot tree. No festive event this year. The fun fundraiser bake sale was canceled and, instead, a donations jar was placed at the entrance of the park. The park was roped off to keep all “sidewalk superintendents” away, but that did not keep people from driving by, honking their horns, and tossing a few dollars into the donation pot. Thanks to all who donated money and provided encouragement. (FYI: The donations are put towards park maintenance.

A huge thank you goes to Turtle and Heather who do all the planning, testing of the lights, gathering of lobster pots and other materials needed. This was a two-day project: On Saturday, Nov. 21, Turtle and his crew built the tree and on Sunday added the lights, the buoys, and the blinking light at the top of the tree. In order to keep to Covid guidelines on gatherings, Turtle returned to using just the original core group of workers: Jordan and Kate Ryan, Kate Mello and Patrick Evans, and their kids who came and went during the day (Blaze and Chase, Kiley and Cora, Elizabeth and Barrett). Thank you all for your dedication to this fun tradition.

Before you ask, there were 202 lobster pots used in the construction of this year’s tree!

There were a lot of behind the scene helpers, and your support was greatly appreciated. A big thank you goes to Jon Grant for loaning the lobster pots, to Fred Howarth for supplying the buoys, to Perry Phillips for loaning the fish trap and to Robbie Gilpin for providing the blinking light for the top of the tree. The Tourism Council provided lots of new lights for the tree in hopes there will be no blackouts like last year. Thanks to Pat Evans and Island Hardware for providing the hundreds of zip ties needed to keep the lobster pots anchored together. And, the wreaths are up throughout the downtown area thanks to the Block Island Gardeners.

One request from Turtle and his crew: No climbing on the Lobster Pot Christmas Tree as the privately owned lobster pots are not strong enough to hold the weight and you can easily break the tree lights (without meaning to) and that will shut down a whole section of lights.

The lights were turned on at dusk on Thanksgiving Day, so the Old Harbor Task Force invites you and your friends and family to come down this weekend and take a few photos of everyone standing in front of the Lobster Pot Christmas Tree.

As I have said before, I love thanking the Block Island community for its continued support of the Lobster Pot Christmas Tree and our downtown parks. Thank You!

Margie Comings is the Chair of the Old Harbor Task Force.