Nova Scotia’s Annual Tree on Boston Commons – fascinating history and ties!

Annual tree at Kent Circle in Gloucester, Mass., also from Nova Scotia.

Follow the excellent thread to learn more about Canada’s annual remembrance and giving tree; its history concerns a disaster as catastrophic as the Johnstown Flood.

There are many Nova Scotia ties in Gloucester, too. Canadians immigrants, especially ones born on the east coast, settled throughout Massachuestts. Canadian born fishermen worked and lived in Gloucester. More than 1200 Nova Scotians went down to the sea and are memorialized here.

Thanks to the Tarr family, Gloucester has an annual tree from Nova Scotia. Read more about this year’s journey to install the tree from Shelburne Falls at Kent Circle.

Stacy Boulevard Part 7: expanded garden plans Tulip Fest May 6

IMG_20170504_052040Saturday May 6, 2017 is the official ribbon cutting re-opening of Stacy Boulevard by Mayor Romeo Theken. Thanks to the Mayor, Mike Hale and all Gloucester DPW, GZA, Essex County Landscape Assoc, Gloucester Community Preservation Act, Ann Giraldi Johnson, GFWA, Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, and groups like the Seaport Economic Council and Dir Carolyn Kirk, Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), Joe Lucido, Ed Parks, Mike Linquata, Donna Ardizzoni and One Hour at a Time Gang, Ringo Tarr, Bobbie Turner, YMCA and summer help, Wolf Hill, Generous Gardeners, and other volunteers!

Tulip Festival and bonnet parade Saturday 10AM

Ribbon Cutting 11:30AM

Party at Mile Marker Restaurant 6-10PM

Enjoy a closer look at the engineering and landscape plans for the expanded gardens and before/after comparisons.

IMG_20170410_103217 (1)

Stacy expanded gardens

IMG_20170503_151327  Continue reading “Stacy Boulevard Part 7: expanded garden plans Tulip Fest May 6”

Pop up at Pauline’s Gifts: Folly Cove rum made for a tasty eggnog, custom ornaments, and flags of course

Busy night at Pauline’s Gifts. Ringo Tarr picked up flags for the Boulevard donated by members of the Cape Ann Business Alliance. Councilor Val Gilman stopped in and Cory from The Bridge was streaming from the store, interviewing Pauline and Bob Ryan of Ryan & Wood. Pauline’s son Michael served up two special cocktails. We went for the rum. I ordered two custom painted ornaments–one for a Dartmouth fan and a pink Patriots one. Now that I’ve seen a custom house ornament, I’ll have to narrow down one of my many house motifs for an order!

Small business news: Pauline has had one of the top December months since she’s been in business.





Before: Gloucester Lobster Trap Tree awaiting painted buoys

Love the new wood signs heralding the Lobster Trap Tree lighting on Saturday, December 10th, just after a fun-filled day of Middle Street walk festivities.

The tree looks gorgeous already, but just wait until it’s trimmed with buoys hand-painted by children in our community under the direction of Cape Ann Art Haven and with the help of volunteers! The After is priceless and original. Thank you Cape Ann Art Haven and all who help to make this tradition happen in Gloucester. Wreaths and lights  on the street lamps are readied by the City,  Gloucester Downtown Association, and Ringo Tarr.


Two more days and Stage Fort Park becomes Gloucester’s shoreline amphitheater for Country Fest. @cassadeepope headlining, also Houston Bernard Band and Southern City Band


Apparently and not surprisingly Ringo helps Boston Fence set in the fences at Stage Fort for Gloucester’s first country fest,  coming this Saturday noon -5 (gates open 11 AM). I didn’t stop to chat or take more photographs because we were in the middle of a Gloucester beaches challenge. What an unforgettable venue to listen to Cassadee Pope (big single out right now and Voice Season 3 winner. Who was her coach?) and Boston bands Houston Bernard Band and Southern City Band ! Cassadee Pope’s twitter photograph features beach/dune background. Wonder where it was taken? Everyone will have some good photos from Stage Fort. You can listen to Ringo and Emily talk to Joey about the Country fest on the podcast.





GloucesterCast 193 With Ringo and Emily Tarr, Cat Ryan, @kimSmithdesigns and @Joey_C taped 7/24/17


GloucesterCast 193 With Ringo and Emily Tarr, Cat Ryan, @kimSmithdesigns and @Joey_C taped 7/24/17


subscribebuttonTopics Include:

CountryFest July 30th and BluesFest August 6th Ringo Tarr and Emily Frank From Boston Fence Donates the Fencing, Get $30 tickets at The Chamber or Firefly downtown before, at the gate tickets are available for $35
Kent XCircle tree Lighting, Flags At The Boulevard, the Concerts at The Boulevard, The Fireworks, Founding member of The GloucesterFund
Squished Bunny- how small must the bunny Rabbit’s Brain’s be that you give them like 150 yards and they still manage to at the very last second leap in front of your tire?
Monarchs are arriving (especially females) Journey North App
Southward Migration under way
Flip Flop thieves at Good Harbor
Dogs and garbage will continue to be an issue at area beaches as long as there are ignorant lazy people walking the earth
 193 GMG Podcast Ring and Emily Tarr copyright Kim Smith


FREE Concert on the Boulevard July 3 feat. Runaround & Laser Light Show

Ringo Tarr and the Gloucester Fund present another FREE CONCERT on the Boulevard featuring THE RUNAROUND SOUND starting at 5pm at the corner of Centennial and Western Ave (the Boulevard).

This has become a spectacular annual July 3 event drawing thousands of people down to the water for great music, dancing and fun for the whole family.

Music begins at 5pm, breaks for the Parade, resumes after the parade, breaks for the fireworks and continues after the fireworks with a spectacular laser light show.

It’s a terrific way to celebrate our independence.

Here’s a glimpse of the party from last year


September 20 BLOCK PARTY HarborWalk – Trails and Sails – Harbortown – Committee for the Arts

Cat Ryan submits-

Thanks to Ringo, MBT Electricians, Parsons Street was ready and lit as darkness fell.

Downtown Block Party overlapped with the first weekend of Essex National Heritage annual Trails and Sails (Sept 19-21 and 26-28). James Owen Calderwood, the artist who created FISH NET, was here to experience both events, help set up and answer questions.

There were hours of great LIVE and local music by the stage in front of Bank Gloucester. I’ll add the entertainer names and sponsors for that stage into the comments below. Parents dining al fresco at Ohana watched their kids engage at the YMCA kid town area. 4Square dominates, effectively trapping all kids. The YMCA staff is excellent!

We enjoyed working with Don and Francis of FABOLA and the guys from Surfside Subs. Throughout the Block Party, happy customers lined up for Surfside Subs pizza (the biggest slices ever!) and it was non-stop at Markouk’s booth with City Hall rising beyond. (The next morning, Markouk would be up and at it again for Appleton Farms.) 

FABOLA enlivened the sidewalk and parking space with mid-century modern “parklet” seating areas. A cozy chair and ottoman upholstered with a touch of Provence did not sell, but a trio of friends paused on FISH NET with their new modern lamp purchase.

I didn’t get to Smokin Jim’s Barbecue in the back garden by Dog Bar, nor Cape Ann Community Cinema to see Charade with Cary Grant, or the cheese tasting, or…well, there’s no way to get it all in. I did see the King, Fred Bodin! Congratulations to Judith Brackley, Valerie Markley, Lucinda, and others for their professionalism and attention to detail for these top notch street festivals.

It’s all about the music – Video from July 3 Free Concert on the Boulevard

Last night, July 3, 2014, was the 7th anniversary of the annual Runaround Sound Extravaganza, a free concert on the Boulevard after the Horribles parade.  Last night we had the biggest crowd of the past 7 years even though there were no fireworks.  It really is all about the music.  Check out the finale.

All I can say is that I’m honored to live in the City that brought us the tremendously talented Carlos Menezes, Jr., who, along with some of Gloucester’s best musicians perform this show for free every year — and Ringo Tarr, who, along with his team, do more work behind the scenes in one day than many people do in a month.


Naming the Twins

naming the twins
An acoustic duo from Gloucester’s sister city of Shelburne, Nova Scotia, “Naming the Twins” perform folk songs in the tradition of Peter, Paul & Mary.
Join them at the Cultural Center at Rocky Neck for an evening of food, fun, humor and harmony.
Thursday, January 16, 2014  @  6:30 p.m.
Tickets: $25.00, includes a buffet dinner and concert.
For more information and/or to make reservations, call 978.490.0001 or email
Net proceeds to benefit the Kent Circle Christmas Tree Lights.
The Cultural Center at Rocky Neck is located at 6 Wonson St. on Rocky Neck in East Gloucester.
For more information about “Naming the Twins” visit their website at
A couple of years ago, Joann Mackenzie did a nice history of the Kent Circle Tree tradition for the Gloucester Daily Times:, Gloucester, MA
November 29, 2011
The roots of Gloucester’s tree
Joann Mackenzie, Staff Writer
It all began with a scene straight out of an old Frank Capra movie.
One morning 15 years ago, with Christmas fast approaching, Brent “Ringo” Tarr walked into the kitchen of the Tarr family’s farmhouse and said, “We have a problem, we have no Christmas tree.”
Now, no Christmas tree with Christmas fast approaching would be a problem in lots of family’s books, but in the Tarr family’s book, it was a very, very big problem.
Thanks, in large part, to the Tarrs’ concerted efforts, the children of Gloucester had come to expect a tree of about 40 feet in height and several tons in weight to appear as if by magic — glowing with thousands of lights amidst a little lit forest of twinkling crab apple trees at Kent Circle.
Ringo Tarr — along with his brothers, state Senator Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester, and Brian Tarr, assistant superintendent of Gloucester Schools — had begun that tradition several years earlier in response to the West Gloucester’s community’s collective desire for “a tree of their own.” And in the past, they’d relied on good luck and local backyards to find Kent Circle’s “Green Giants.”
But that year, Ringo Tarr — the self-appointed Paul Bunyon of the bunch — had simply come up empty-handed in his search for a perfect tree. And like the Jimmy Stewart character in Capra’s Christmas classic, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” he was looking for a Christmas miracle to save the day.
What might be an option, suggested Ringo’s brother, Bruce, was sending out a fisherman’s SOS to Gloucester’s sister city, Shelburne, Nova Scotia.
Gloucester and Shelburne had a long history of helping each other. The two fishing ports had been each other’s safe harbors through centuries of storm-tossed seas. And, more recently, had been discussing a new bond, through joint business ventures in tourism and energy, that could make them future economic partners.
As state lawmaker, Bruce Tarr had developed a good working relationship with Shelburne’s city leaders — and a good working knowledge of Nova Scotia itself.
One of Canada’s three Atlantic Maritime provinces, Nova Scotia is, among other things, “the Balsam Fir capital of the world,” exporting more than 2 million Christmas trees annually. Could the province, Bruce Tarr wondered over the phone to the mayor of Shelburne, possibly spare one more of its famous firs for Gloucester’s Kent Circle?
The answer came in the form of a 38-foot Nova Scotia fur. And in all the years since, the Nova Scotia green giants have kept on coming from Shelburne to Gloucester every November, by land and sea, and a variety of vehicles.
Most recently, it has arrived via an annual odyssey which, for the Tarr brothers, has evolved into what Bruce Tarr likens to a 12-hour international triathlon, “… an Iron Man Challenge of Christmas Tree hunts,” he says.
The longest and arguably toughest leg of the three legs of the journey is by ferry, across wild, winter-whipped North Atlantic waters. But the senator, who has videotaped years of footage of the annual trips, clearly loves every minute of them. So, too, does his brother, Ringo.
Over the course of 15 years, the people of Shelburne have, the brothers agree, become friends.
The friendships may not, as they do here in Gloucester, go back to school days, but — like the Nova Scotia “Green Giants” themselves— they’ve grown with time.
“I walk the streets up there,” says Ringo Tarr, and they know my name. “‘Hey, Ringo!’ they’ll say, ‘How’re ya doing?'”
Ringo Tarr is doing just fine this year. The trip to Shelburne went without a hitch, and he and his traveling partner, St. Peter’s Fiesta Committee chief Joe Novello, delivered a bouncing 38-foot Nova Scotia Fir to Gloucester, and, thanks to the mild November weather and the help of friends like Ed McCann and Joe Ciolino, had it raised, decorated, and ready for lighting last weekend.
An electrical contractor, Ringo Tarr — like the Thomas Edison protege who first introduced the “electric Christmas tree” back in the 1880s — is a born inventor.
As the mastermind who makes the “magic” of the Kent Circle tree happen, his inventiveness has included — among countless other things — the planning and construction of the 12-by-12-foot underground infrastructure that “houses” and supports the trees.
Designed to withstand winds of up to a 100 miles an hour, Ringo Tarr’s two tons of poured cement support largely stood the test of last December’s Nor’ Easter admirably.
Though badly battered and, well, downsized, Gloucester’s Kent Circle tree did not — like the national tree on Washington, D.C.’s, Ellipse — actually topple over in the storm.
Though the Kent Circle tree owes much to the Tarr family, the Tarr brothers are quick to give credit to “legions” of “Christmas Angels” in both cities who donate their time, energy, elbow grease, ingenuity and equipment ranging from flatbed trucks, trailers, earth movers, cranes.
Like the gifts of the Magi, Shelburne’s trees travel from afar, across seas the two old fishing ports have shared for centuries, where, says Bruce Tarr, “the long-standing philosophy is that all men must always help each other.”
Especially, at Christmas.

Kent Circle Christmas Tree photos from Anthony Marks

Hi Joey
It’s that time of year. Ringo Tarr and crew set up the Kent Circle Christmas tree Friday November 15th.  Ringo Tarr and Joe Novello traveled to Nova Scotia to pick up the tree.
The Santa parade a part of the tree lighting will step off about 3:00 pm Sunday December 1st from the state fish pier in Gloucester.
The parade route is Parker street to Main street to Western ave. and ends at Kent Circle for the annual Christmas tree lighting with Santa and Mrs. Clause.
Hope to see you and the girls there.
Best Anthony

Roots 66 to open Free Boulevard Concert July 3 ~ Dance & Party from 5-11PM

Ev Harlow and his band Roots 66 have agreed to open the free concert on the Boulevard beginning at 5pm on Wednesday 7/3.  Their bluesy blend of roots, classic rock and Americana fits perfectly with the spirit of the day and will help us all get ready to celebrate our independence with music, dancing, parade, fireworks & a spectacular laser light show.

Then after the parade, and for the 6th year in a row, Carlos Menezes, Jr. will bring us music from Cape Ann Big Band and The Runaround Sound to Ringo Tarr’s Boulevard stage for a city-wide dance party by the Cut Bridge at the corner of the Boulevard and Centennial Ave (see map here).  This free concert, presented by The Gloucester Fund and, is only possible because of lots of hard work and generosity on the part of Ringo, his stage/event team and the musicians — all of whom donate their time and talent.  Come down on Wednesday and show them some love!

The Runaround Sound at the BoulevardHere’s the updated schedule:
5:00 Roots 66 kicks off the music
6:00 Music breaks for Horribles Parade
7:00 Cape Ann Big Band & The Runaround Sound after the parade
9:30 Fireworks over Gloucester Harbor
10:00 Spectacular LASER LIGHT SHOW by RK Lighting Design
Then dance with Runaround under the stars & the lasers until 11 P.M!

Check online for the latest updates
Check online for the latest updates

FREE Boulevard Concert JULY 3 featuring Cape Ann Big Band, Runaround Sound

Runaround w/ Laser Light Show on the Boulevard

Once again, the Gloucester Fund and present a FREE CONCERT ON GLOUCESTER HARBOR featuring Cape Ann Big Band and Gloucester’s #1 Party band Runaround Sound, plus we have some surprise featured vocalists TBA.

Ringo Tarr, Gloucester’s hardest working behind-the-scenes organizer, has done it again. He’s bringing his stage to the Boulevard for a rousing celebration of our independence through music, parade, fireworks and one of the most powerful laser light shows in New England– Best of all, it’s all FREE thanks to Ringo’s hard work and the musicians’ generous spirit.

Here’s the schedule:
5:00 Music Begins (band TBA)
6:00 Music breaks for Horribles Parade
7:00 Cape Ann Big Band & Runaround after parade
9:30 Fireworks over Gloucester Harbor
10:00 Spectacular LASER LIGHT SHOW by RK Lighting Design
Then dance with Runaround under the stars & the lasers.

There’s nothing like dancing on the Boulevard to the Runaround Sound with RK’s lasers overhead. DON’T MISS IT!  Here’s a video of Runaround at Capt. Carlos.

You can get into the party spirit with Runaround tonight at 9 at Minglewood Tavern.  See Cape Ann’s complete weekend live music schedule here.

GloucesterCast Podcast With Guest Ron Gilson and Host Joey Ciaramitaro Taped 6/1/13

GloucesterCast Podcast With Guest Ron Gilson and Host Joey Ciaramitaro Taped 6/1/13

Click to play-

Host Joey Ciaramitaro

Topics Include: Summer In Gloucester,The First Upscale Breakfast joint In Gloucester, the Makings of The Union Hill Coffee Shop, Au Beaujolais, Relationship Between Restaurant Patrons and Servers, Flags On The Boulevard, Differences Between Generations Honoring  Veterans, Paul Frontiero Sr, Death Row Sub, Death Row Meal.

If you enjoy the podcast could you help get it recognized in the iTunes directory by rating it here in the iTunes store

Chickity Check It!- Trip For The Tree From Our Senator Bruce Tarr

Bruce Writes-

Sister cities Gloucester, Ma and Shelburne, Nova Scotia have a great tradition of Shelburne giving Gloucester a Christmas tree each year and Gloucester’s legislative delegation giving books to the Shelburne library in return.

A delegation from Gloucester is now on the way to get the tree, with Ringo Tarr at the wheel of the truck and trailer that will carry it on the long journey to its place of honor at Kent Circle.

I am part of the crew, and we have video equipment so we will post clips of the trip here over the next few days. The first clip is posted below.

Bruce has his own blog if you didn’t know.  You can check it out here-


Boulevard Extravaganza Presents Free Live Music Before And After The Horribles Parade


Dear Joey,

I’m working with Ringo Tarr on this event.  Would you be able to  promote it on GMG?




CONTACT: Peter Van Ness


Boulevard Extravaganza presents free live music before and after the Horribles Parade

Boulevard Extravaganza Presents free live music on the Boulevard (near the Blynman drawbridge) in Gloucester, MA on Saturday, July 3 starting at 5pm.

Safety – Gloucester’s best 80s band will kick things off with a rockin’ set at 5pm – awesome hair, awesome tunes.

Horribles Parade starts at 6pm.

Immediately following the parade, Henri Smith New Orleans Friends and Flavours plays jazz, blues and New Orleans favorites.

Runaround – Gloucester’s favorite ska band follows.

Fireworks begin at 10pm.

Don’t leave after the fireworks.  Stick around for a very special surprise.

For more details and to preview some of the music visit