The Blackwater Village community celebrates the holidays with an annual lights display that is growing — and in more ways than one.
Each year, the decorators add to their design. Currently, the large spruce tree and entrance sign are covered in large multi-color light strings. More lights and large candy canes run along a wooden fence that divides two lanes of traffic. The fence leads to a row of six small evergreen trees, which are swathed in smaller lights.
Mother Nature is also constantly adding to the display. The live spruce tree was planted approximately 20 years ago, when the family who donated it paid $5 to purchase it. The main tree is now so tall that Bob Sullivan and Adolph Perticari must use a long pole and hook to drape lights upon it. Additionally, the trees in the background became so old and large that the community had to replace them three years ago.
The holiday decorators this year are residents Bob Sullivan, who serves on the Architectural Committee, and Adolph Perticari, vice president of the Blackwater Village Association Inc., which is the community’s homeowner’s association.
They estimate that 18 to 20 light strings cover the main spruce alone. Another nine strings adorn the fence and sign, and three garnish each of the six small evergreens.
“We feel the need for it,” Sullivan said. “The people here really appreciate it.”
Sullivan started the Blackwater tree tradition 11 years ago. In his first year as a resident, he brought the idea to the association’s then-president, who gave him permission to decorate the entrance, which he has personally done for nine years.
Sullivan explained that such volunteer work keeps dues down for members of the homeowner’s association, the current president of which is Sullivan’s wife, Barbara. Residents there often donate time and resources to beautification and repair projects.
To further foster a sense of community, Blackwater Village also hosts an annual Christmas party for residents, which Sullivan called “a great way to get to know your neighbors.”
The tradition has helped the community — which was started in 1973 and further developed in 1979 — become a “safe” and “stable” place, where “everybody knows everybody,” said Sullivan and Perticari.