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A Holiday Tradition at Drummer Boy Park in Brewster

Becky Fischer | 12/4/2020

Every year we gather at Drummer Boy Park in Brewster on the first Friday in December for the Illumination Ceremony. The lighting of the windmill and town tree marks the kickoff to Brewster for the Holidays.

Due to COVID-19 precautions, the Brewster Chamber of Commerce decided to hold a safer, virtual event this year. We gathered at the tree, along with the Brewster Historical Society who lights the windmill, and illuminated the tree. Santa was even there! We are thrilled that the town ornament this year is a lovely painting of the tree, with children gathered around it. has been a sponsor of this event for 14 years. As a member of the Brewster for the Holidays committee, I volunteered to set up the Friday night ceremony. We started with a cut tree placed in the gazebo and decorated with lights and invited young families to attend for some holiday music and cheer. After a few years, we thought that a permanent planted tree that we could watch grow might add more meaning and history to the event.

Then in January 2009, the beloved patriarch of our family, Roger Talmadge, passed away. Bubba, as we affectionally called my grandfather, loved to attend summer Brewster band concerts at Drummer Boy as he watched his great grandchildren march around the gazebo. The ideas flowed, and the decision was made that our family would plant a tree as a tribute to Bubba, as well as a gift to the town for the Illumination Ceremony.

The Talmadge Family
The Talmadge Family

When we planted the tree, it was only 7 feet tall. Over the years, the tree has grown to nearly 30 feet. It’s so tall, in fact, that our ladder no longer suffices to hang the lights. For the last two years, our friends at Cape Cod Tree and Landscape have donated their time and bucket truck to help us hang the lights. It is an exciting day when we gather with fresh lights and watch Bubba’s tree be decorated.

Next year we look forward to welcoming back hundreds of jolly spectators for donuts and cider, holiday carol sing-a-long, a countdown to the lights, a heartfelt remembrance to Bubba, and the arrival of our dear friend from the North Pole!