State Representative Ed Coppinger, a lifelong West Roxbury resident, wants his home neighborhood to start saving and get its Christmas shopping done early this year.
In the middle of last December, he realized the neighborhood’s main business district was missing its usual holiday decorations and scrambled to change that.
Nine days before Christmas, Coppinger found himself helping several volunteers he had recruited, including one man dressed in a Santa Claus outfit and hoisted above Centre Street in bucket truck, to affix to light poles some 90 wreaths and red bows the legislator had helped pay for.
This year, the representative hopes to avoid having to do any last-minute shopping and decorating.
Coppinger on Wednesday announced an event will be held later this month to raise money to help cover the costs of decorating the West Roxbury business district during the coming Christmas season.
“Every time you go to a mall or visit downtown Boston to do some Christmas shopping, you walk into places that are beautifully decorated to celebrate the holidays,” Coppinger said in a statement. “By decorating West Roxbury in a similar fashion, I hope to encourage more people to visit our local small businesses to shop and go out for dinner.”
The “Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day Fundraiser” is scheduled for 8 p.m. on Sept. 28 at the Irish Social Club of Boston. Fenian Sons and DJ George Manning will donate their time to provide live entertainment. Several raffles will be held. Tickets are $10 and will be sold at the door. Coppinger hopes about 400 people will attend.
“This fundraiser will help us raise funds to purchase the decorations ahead of time and have them ready for December,” said Coppinger, who is sponsoring the event along with the West Roxbury Business and Professional Association.
In past years, the street holiday decorating had been organized and paid for by the business and professional organization before the local Main Streets nonprofit took over the task several years ago.
But, a supply of lights purchased in recent years burned out sooner than expected and, with not enough funding available for replacement decorations, darkness befell last year’s plans.
That’s when Coppinger stepped in. He and Leader Bank, where he works as a mortgage broker, split the $1,000-plus cost of buying 90 wreaths and red bows.
Keith Barry, a West Roxbury resident and a member of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 103 in Dorchester, secured a truck from his union and, wearing a Santa Claus costume, helped hang the wreaths.
Parkway residents, Mark McKeown, Anthony Castellano, a Catholic Memorial student and his father, Joe, also volunteered to help decorate Centre Street a year ago.
E-mail Matt Rocheleau at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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(State Rep. Ed Coppinger's Office)