Luminaria Sales Underway, with Aesthetic and Educational Benefits

December 7, 2023
(L-R) Minuteman Paul Ciaccia, Chip-in Farm’s Paul Couvee, and Minuteman Chuck Hacala ready the luminaria kits for sale now at Chip-In Farm. Courtesy Image

The process that culminates with Bedford’s unique Christmas Eve luminescence is under way.

Luminaria – those simple bagged candles that line walkways in Bedford Center and beyond – are now on sale at Chip-in Farm, 201 Hartwell Rd.

The proceeds benefit the Bedford Minuteman Scholarship Trust, an adjunct of the group that honors the town’s colonial heritage, the Bedford Minuteman Co.

Following the sales, the trust makes an annual donation to the Bedford Public Schools supporting American history and social studies programs. Last year’s donation totaled $4,500. The trust also funds the Marion Bryan Citizenship Award, presented to a high school student each April at the liberty pole-capping event.

Each $15 kit consists of 12 white bags and a candle for each bag, plus 10 pounds of sand to stabilize the luminaria. The candles burn for at least 12 hours.

Long-time Minuteman Paul Ciaccia continues to chair the fundraising sales. He said the luminaria appear to have been inspired by a tradition in the American Southwest.

Minutemen Ed Magiera and John Filios began the sales about 35 years ago, Ciaccia said, and “We’ve been fortunate to hold the cost down.”

The Christmas Eve practice is spreading from the center of town, where luminaria outline the sidewalks on The Great Road, the Bedford Common, residences and public buildings, to several neighborhoods. Last year, Ciaccia said, residents and businesses purchased more than 500 kits.

He pointed out that sales really took off during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 when most residents were spending a lot more time at home.

Ciaccia noted that realtor Suzanne Koller annually buys luminaria kits to donate to her clients. He also thanked the owners of Chip-in Farm, Paul and Neil Couvee, for their long-standing support.

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