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Boston’s “Enchanted Trolley” and Mayor’s Tree Lightings

By Sue Pye, Boston Training Officer

Old Town Trolley of Boston's manager, Matthew Murphy, ready for the exciting event!

Old Town Trolley of Boston's general manager, Matthew Murphy, poses with Boston Mayor, Tom Menino, ready for the exciting event!

Happy Holidays, everyone! Well, for me up here in Boston it definitely “’tis the season” once the Mayor’s Enchanted Trolley Tour takes place. For the past 11 or 12 years every first weekend in December, I have been involved with Mayor Menino’s Tree Lightings. It is something I look forward to each year and once you hear about what it is you might think, “Are you crazy?” Well maybe, but it is something that I look forward to each year. We at Old Town Trolley, Macy’s Department Store, the Mayor of Boston, and, of course, Santa Claus himself light 15 neighborhood trees in a marathon session that lasts 3 days!

The Old Town Trolley all dressed up for the occasion!

The Old Town Trolley all dressed up for the occasion!

We start on Friday afternoon arriving at City Hall in beautifully decorated trolleys. The two trolleys are decked with real fir garlands and huge wreaths and lights. I think they look incredibly festive at this time of the year! Once we arrive at City Hall there is a catering company (this year it was Gourmet Catering) waiting to pile trays of food, urns of coffee and hot chocolate, and even beef stew aboard the trolley. (By the way, our Fleet Manager Bob Gibson and his crew have a lot of fun removing enough seats in one of the trolleys to make room for the food tables. I’m sure this is one of Bob’s favorite tasks!) Then we await our guests. I drive the front trolley and that’s the one that carries the Mayor, his family, some city officials and workers, and some of the their families as well. Next, in what will become an escorted parade around Boston, is the Santa Stage, sponsored and driven by Macy’s. The rolling Santa Stage is then followed by the second trolley, and this one carries The City Band, which is a group of four musicians that plays at each neighborhood stop. Also Mrs. Claus and her singers come along, which are singing trees known as Twinkle, Sparkler and Shine.

Santa and Sue Pye posing for a picture.

Sue Pye gets a Christmas hug from the real Macy's Santa.

After heading out we go to five neighborhoods in about 3.5 hours and light the trees. The neighborhood kids get to talk with, hug and take pictures with Santa. This year the crowds were huge at all the stops! Saturday starts all over again around 1 pm, doing several trees in the daylight, and we finish up around 9 pm. Sunday begins with food loading on at 11:30, five more neighborhoods, including a stop in Chinatown where a local restaurant always donates some wonderful Chinese food. The next stop on the trolley is very busy with all the police officers and tour workers coming aboard for some really good food. We wrap up around 5:30 at City Hall where everyone unloads, and all the decorations come down off the trolleys.

Did I mention that the Enchanted Trolley Tour has its own police escort? Just imagine driving around your city and not having to stop for any lights! It might just be the main reason that I do this event every year. There is nothing more fun then to follow a police car and have motorcycle officers flying by you and racing ahead to stop all traffic at each intersection.

Another reason this event is so special is that we have the REAL Santa from the Macy’s Parade. The same Santa has been with us for years and has become a friend, too. He even knows my name. (I know what you’re thinking …we wear name tags…but he always mentions my last name when he sees me. I don’t know why people like to call me by my full name, but they do. “Hello there, Sue Pye!”) I don’t think I have ever seen Santa not being Santa so I guess he is the real Santa.

I think the nicest part of this event is seeing old friends at holiday time. The Mayor’s wife, Angela, said this year that the trolley tour would not be the trolley tour with out me driving the tour. I think that was probably one of the best complements I have ever received. That and the hugs that I receive at the end of the three days. Only 362 days till next year’s Enchanted Trolley Tour….*sigh*.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays Everyone!

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