Saturday, November 27, will mark the 36th annual Town Decorating and Parade of Lights for the Town of Pine Plains. As part of the town’s annual celebration, and in preparation for the beloved holiday event, a team of organizers, volunteers, and youths from the local chapter of the National Future Farmers of America Organization (FFA), gathered last Saturday to arrange decorative Christmas trees along the town’s main drag. An integral part of the season for town residents is the decorating of each tree done by local families. Each year, the Pine Plains branch of the Bank of Millbrook, located at the center of town, offers residents decorations for each tree including lights and ornaments. “The trees provide a great ambiance for the parade itself,” says Matthew Zick, a member of the Town Board of Pine Plains. “Families get to pick their own designated tree in town that they will then use the decorations from the bank to decorate. It really is a great way to get the whole town involved.”

Carl Baden, the event’s organizer for the last 16 years, sees both the annual town decorating as well as the parade of lights as way of bringing the community together, “The whole idea of both of these events here in Pine Plains is for families to be able to get out together for an evening during the holiday season without experiencing the excessive hustle and bustle of other busy towns and without feeling the pressure to spend money,” Mr.Baden says. “The shops will be open but there won’t be anyone attempting to solicit on the streets.” Nearly two decades ago, Carl and his wife took over, setting the trees up and helping to organize the parade ever since. Today, the two continue to the goal of keeping the season a memorable one for the residents of Pine Plains, “We have worked hard and still strive to keep this event as family-oriented as possible, with no gimmicks and honest community involvement,” says Carl. “We just want people to enjoy each other’s company without injecting any of the commercialism that exists today. I want this to be something kids grow up with and remember. All the work that goes in is worth it when you see the kids and their families light up during the parade.”

Due to the effects of the pandemic, last year’s parade was a drive-thru event. This year, both volunteers and residents are looking forward to a more traditional return to form. Each Saturday in November will be dedicated to Town Decorating Day. In the coming weeks, in addition to the trees, snowflakes will adorn the Stissing House and a warm up tent will be set up near the Stissing House as well for potential parade goers. “These few weeks in November really get the community out and together,” says Carl. “For the parade, we allow folks to show up with whatever floats or decorations they choose to show off. Last year, cars lined up for our drive-thru parade so we are really excited about the potential turnout for the more traditional parade.”

Tree decorations will be made available at the Pine Plains branch of the Bank of Millbrook, Saturday Nov 27th, 3-5pm. For more details on the Parade of Lights, visit their Facebook page @PPdecoratingdayandparadeoflights