There are two sides to every story – or one if you are Boston Borough Council.
Last Thursday’s Illuminate celebration – we won’t bother mentioning Christmas … even Worst Street put the word in quotation marks – was an unparalleled success according to the powers that be.
Words such as “spectacular,” “excitement,” “vocal joy,” and “wonderful” peppered the borough account.
Boston’s town centre Majordomo Councillor Paul Skinner, called the evening "great."
He added: “It shows what can happen when Boston puts its mind to it – we know how to party."
We also heard how the Mayor received “a massive yell of confirmation” when he declared Boston to be "the best town in the world."
But the people footing the bill for the event saw things rather differently.
More than 70 readers of the Boston Standard posted their views on the paper’s Facebook feed in very short order – and almost to a person, they panned the event.
- I've lived here most my life, and at 41 I must say this is the worst effort I've ever seen for Christmas lights in Boston. It was a waste of my time going into town last night. Never again if this is it!
- Thank god I didn't drag my kids into town in the cold hardly magical is it!!!
- Total embarrassment. The council should hold their heads in shame!
- How tragic!
- What a load of rubbish
- What a joke Boston council is
If you involve hundreds of kids in event, you will always get crowds – but once the parade was over, many critics declared that everything went flat.
The whole event had a semi-pagan look about it – with photos that could either have been taken in Boston Market place or at Up Helly Aa.
We understand that the day began with early activity in the Market Place, because the lights had not been hung on the tree at that late stage.
Mid-afternoon we ventured into town – lured by the promised of a “Christmas Market” and were disappointed to find little more than a glorified array of charity tombola stalls.
We didn’t return for the evening’s events – and by all accounts saved ourselves a wasted journey.
Next year, we wonder whether Christmas will even get a mention.
Last year the spoils between celebrating American Thanksgiving and Christmas were more or less divided.
This year Thanksgiving – which commemorates a celebration by the Pilgrims Fathers after their first harvest in the New World in 1621 – dominated the day.
Next year, we expect Christmas to be side-lined entirely.
Let’s not forget that all this nonsense is leading up to the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrim Fathers’ arrival at Cape Cod.
And let us also not forget that none of these first colonists came from Boston – their arrival to establish our American namesake began a decade and more later as part of a drive by the Massachusetts Bay Company to encourage colonisation … a far less risky affair that the ordeal endured by the real Pilgrim Fathers.
Check out Sunday’s timely BBC documentary about the voyage of the Mayflower – Boston doesn’t get a mention.
There is also the matter of cost – and of who carries the can in future years.
B-TACKy – Worst Street’s town centre committee – is allocating up to £35,000 towards the cost of all this through an unfair council tax top up imposed on roughly half the people living in the borough which will cost them and extra £50 a year..
Versions vary – but the latest is that the lights and the none-too-successful laser projector used this year have been hired for five years and that there will be other costs of up to £8,000 a year.
B-TACky’s hope is that the extra money will come from the shadowy Boston Town Team – a do-nothing spin off from Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce.
Now that it would seem that Worst Street has guaranteed a major chunk of the “Christmas” spending, there is no real incentive on the Town Team to do anything at all, as the borough has painted itself into a corner that will see it forced to keep on paying if no-one else steps in.
Meanwhile, we read that the laser light display was intended to continue for a number of nights after Thursday’s switch on.
But it didn’t.
Why are we not surprised?
And what will we do once the 2020 Mayflower anniversary is over.
If it helps the borough’s forward planning department, there are several pagan festivals in December to which we could hitch our wagon.
Try Saturnalia on the 17th, Eponalia the next day, Mother Night on the 20th or Larentalia on the 23rd.
The list is endless – who needs Christmas anyway?
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