Fires, Ice, S’mores, and Lots of Lights Close out 2019 on the Rail Trail

This week’s ice and rain storm ended just in time for thousands of residents and visitors to enjoy the massive First Night Trail Walk. Below is a selection of photos and there is a link at the bottom to an album of photos from last night that Yvette took.

The Friends welcome tent in Blair Square

We’ll try to organize the photos into categories. First up the Fire Pits – and there were more than in years past and there will be prizes awarded (watch the Friends Facebook page for details).

Toni Clark and friend build the base for their fire
Several pits were scattered along the trail surface, apparently tended by forest elves.
Of course the fire pits were just an excuse for S’mores!
The camera didn’t catch the blue flames coming from this fire. The tenders reported they used Hogwarts wood to get that effect.
An outdoor version of a pot-bellied stove.
Regardless of what the judges determine, this ‘mobile’ pit takes the cake! Eric (Slick) Woodhouse described that this is a merger of two American classics: An Ariens wheelbarrow (freshly painted) and a Weber grill.

Lights seemed to be in abundance this year. You couldn’t walk too far without hearing the purr of generators – or a very long extension cord!

And some lights were on people and strollers!

And then there were the people along the way that made the evening special.

PJ Kilkelly and crew dispensed hot and cold cider. Check out the gallons of cider behind PJ!
Ben Green samples a S’more with a twist (Cherry jam added to the recipe) at the Children of the American Revolution fire pit
Hollistonian James Holmes, a Son of the American Revolution, turned out in a uniform fashioned after that of COL Henry Knox (his cannon scared the British out of Boston)
Tina was ready to offer Hot Cocoa or Ice Cream
“Cryptic Firecat” juggled the night away. (We did not travel the entire trail so we missed the “Unlikely Strummers”.)

We have not been to all seven events. We have been to several and by far this was the best we’ve experienced. What a great night the Friends of Holliston Trails organized!

See the entire photo album by clicking here ->

The Publishers


  1. Tina Hein on January 1, 2020 at 9:35 pm

    Thank you to the volunteers who made New Years Eve on the Rail Trail happen. Ed, Gretchen, and your crew…what a fantastic night! My personal favorites were the Unlikely Strummers Ukulele Band and the fire pit with the bells to ring in the New Year.

    Talking to my family in Strasbourg, FR, Chattanooga, TN, Barbados, and Rupert, VT that evening I have to say that Holliston was a pretty amazing and special place to ring in the New Year!

  2. Gretchen Prieve on January 2, 2020 at 8:33 pm

    Thanks, Tina! Friends of Holliston Trails values the volunteer base we built this year–we grew the core volunteer group who planned the event and engaged both returning and new day-of volunteers. Fire pit hosts consisted of local businesses (Vesta Real Estate Group, TC Scoops, and E-Motion Computer Services), local organizations (Holliston Newcomers & Neighbors, The Jason Russell Society of the Children of the American Revolution, and Holliston Agricultural Commission), neighborhood teams (Stagecoach representing!), and individual families. Each volunteer helped us to create another magical experience for our community. I’d also like to give a shout out to the Boy Scouts who volunteer their time cooking in Phipps Tunnel and Chris @ Superette who makes ordering 675 hotdogs (all consumed) easy for us. If you’d like to join us next year, you can find me at gretchen @

  3. Robert Weidknecht on January 7, 2020 at 4:01 pm

    We set up an automatic counter. The counter placed in the section of the Trail near Exchange Street recorded over 2,000 users. This does not count those coming in south of Exchange Street, nor any of those from Cross Street. What a great turnout. Thank you “Friends of Holliston Trails, scouts, neighborhood groups, business and other volunteers for a truly great event.

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