Luminaria will light up the town on Saturday, March 13, at dusk to remember the pandemic lockdown. A brief ceremony will be held at the gazebo at 6 p.m. and live streamed on the Woodbridge Together Facebook page. In case of rain the event will take place on Sunday at 7 p.m.
When Tina Burland, a Woodbridge resident and junior at Amity High School, saw the walkways and front yards in Cheshire lit up with luminarias last fall, she wanted to see something similar in Woodbridge as well. “It shows that we are here for each other,” she said.
The longing for community has never been more pronounced than since the pandemic kept people isolated in their houses. That’s why Tina decided luminaria — candles set up in paper bags — were a good way to mark March 13, the anniversary of the day when the schools shut down and the Town Hall closed, the day, as she puts it, when “Woodbridge stopped.”
“I wanted to change the anniversary into something hopeful,” she said. She envisions the luminaria to light up the town center with its public buildings, and she has been busy selling luminarias over the internet and dropping them off at people’s houses and at businesses.
Tomorrow, Saturday, March 13, there will be a short ceremony at 6 p.m. on the town green by the gazebo, with First Selectman Beth Heller speaking. It will be live-streamed on the Woodbridge Together Facebook page. Tina is also planning to post pictures and videos of all the different locations where luminarias have been set up. People can send in their own photos to firstname.lastname@example.org. In case of inclement weather, the event will be postponed to Sunday at 7 p.m. – to account for the change in Daylight Savings Time.
Those who would like to get a set of luminarias last minute will have the chance to do so during the day Saturday at the library. Luminarias are being sold either as kits of 18 ($20) or kits of 8 ($10). You will receive paper bags, and battery-operated tea lights. To set them up outdoors, you need to weigh the paper bags down by filling the bottom with sand or pebbles before placing the tea light in it.
People can personalize the luminaria by writing the names of those who are sick or have been lost or people could write words like “Woodbridge Together” on the bags. “We would love if the luminaria could be displayed at people’s homes to create that sense of community and support for one another,” she wrote on the website.
Proceeds of the sale will be donated to the Rotary’s Club’s Covid relief fund. Those who would like to donate, but not purchase luminarias, can make a donation through the Woodbridge Together GoFundMe page.
Tina started Woodbridge Together, with the mission to help bring the community together. Its first project last year was to write 112 holiday cards for the residents of the Willows. Once spring comes, she wants to help plant flowers in the public spaces for people to enjoy. “Our goal is to have the residents of Woodbridge invested in each other and invested in Woodbridge,” she wrote on Facebook.
For more information, go to https://www.woodbridgetogether.com/programs, or visit its Facebook page and Instagram page.
By Bettina Thiel – Woodbridge Town News Correspondent
Tina Burland, a junior at Amity High School, is organizing a ceremony to mark the anniversary of the pandemic on March 13. Proceeds from the sale of luminarias will benefit the Rotary Covid Relief Fund.