Oh buoy! Niantic Main Street and the East Lyme Public Trust partnered to bring a new holiday tradition to Niantic with Buoys by the Bay. The new holiday display, located in the Main Street Park, consists of five wooden trees adorned with nearly 300 buoys, each decorated by residents, students, businesses and fans of Niantic/East Lyme.
The project, a fundraiser for the two organizations, has been months in the making with buoy sales launching on Celebrate East Lyme Day. Each buoy was sold at $50, which means $15,000 will be reinvested back into the Niantic community through the two community-focused nonprofit organizations. Buoy purchasers then had until early November to decorate and return their buoy to be a part of the tree installation.
The community’s love for the project showed in the creativity and care put into each buoy. Some decoupaged, some painted and some creatively constructed, the buoys showcase East Lyme locales, pop culture, businesses, families and everything in between. With the wooden trees ranging between nine and six feet, each buoy is visible to visitors and gets its time to shine.
While the two organizations spearheaded the project, it took a village to make it come to fruition. Mermaid Liquors and Coastal Gifts on Main sold and collected the buoys, and exchanged some playful banter in the process to see who could sell more. (Mermaid Liquors won.) The five wooden triangle trees, inspired by the tree lot from “A Charlie’s Brown Christmas,” were constructed by Paul Lussier. More than 1,500 feet of rope was donated by the East Lyme True Value with Marker 7 Marina cutting and fusing the rope in preparation to hang the buoys. Finally the trees were painted, installed and decorated by volunteers from the East Lyme Public Trust Foundation, Niantic Main Street, Past to Present Collectibles, Coastal Gifts on Main, Marker 7 Marina and East Lyme Parks and Recreation. And you can’t forget the Town of East Lyme, itself, for allowing the installation to be placed in the Main Street Park.
“The trees are not only a great way to celebrate the holiday season, they’re truly a visual representation of how our community works together,” said East Lyme First Selectman Kevin Seery.
The Buoys by the Bay display will run from November 17, 2023 to January 15, 2024. Afterwards, the buoys will be returned for their owners to cherish.