First Night Trail Walk to Celebrate 6th Year

J.D. O’Gara
New Year’s Eve Event Will Pump Up the Fun this Year
Come on out and join the fun! The Friends of Holliston Trails First Night Trail Walk, in its 6th year, will run from 5-8 p.m. this year. Come for a leisurely walk with neighbors, or host a fire pit (contest for the best one wins you a pizza party!) Photo used courtesy of Friends of Holliston Trails
Issue Date: 
December, 2018
Article Body: 

The annual First Night Trail Walk, an event sponsored by the Friends of the Holliston Trails (, celebrates its sixth year this year, with the walk beginning at 5 p.m. The children’s walk, which starts at Cross Street, where there is a story walk put together by Eagle Scout Jamie Ogilvie of Troop 73 is just .25 miles to Phipps Tunnel. This is a great for option not only for children, but also for seniors or anyone who needs a shorter walk. From Blair Square, the trail walk is 1.25 miles to Phipps Tunnel, which will be decorated for the event.
The event, says Gretchen Prieve, president of the Friends of Holliston Trails and co-chair of the event along with Erica Foster, has become a laid-back tradition and a nice way for Holliston residents as well as members of neighboring communities, to kick off New Year’s festivities. The event ends at 8 p.m., so folks can go ahead and celebrate the New Year in a more traditional fashion afterward.
Entertainment has been added to make this New Year’s event even more fun. At Blair Square, an ice sculptor from Brilliant Ice Sculpture will work for 2 ½ hours on a frozen rendition of the Holliston Panthers logo. Prieve explains that the logo was chosen for the ice sculpture after an online poll on Facebook.
“Holliston residents overwhelmingly chose the panther,” says Prieve, who adds that the sculpture, which will be modeled after the logo found on the town school’s sports teams, will likely remain up at Blair Square until the weather determines otherwise.
Also at Blair Square will be musical entertainment, and strollers can take a chance on guessing how many jelly beans are in a jar to win a gift certificate to Fiske’s General Store. In past years, that entertainment has been provided by David Nickerson of Bay State Sound, although at press time who was to provide the musical entertainment had not yet been confirmed. The Friends group has also hired a juggler to walk around and entertain in the children’s portion of the trail, from Cross Street to Phipps Tunnel.
Neighbors and friends can get together to host fire pits along the trail. Prieve says the past few years have seen about 30 fire pits. She’s hoping more neighbors and organizations will come out to bring that number up to 50 this year.
Fire pits are free to host and make the event safer and more fun, she says. People are encouraged to bring their own fire pits and wood, but in past events, generosity in town has prevailed, and organizers have been able to borrow supplies when needed. Generally, each fire pit offers some sort of entertainment and treat. Holliston Boy Scouts this year will be providing hot cider and hot dogs over by Phipps Tunnel, and Prieve says the Friends makes sure at least a few pits have hot cider. One past fire pit host offered homemade corn bread, she says, and others bring out their guitars and play a little music.
This year, the Friends of Holliston Trails is adding to the excitement with a little fire pit competition. Fire pits will be rated for features like “Best Snack” or “Best Entertainment,” for an overall score for “Best Fire Pit.” The winner, says Prieve, will receive a gift certificate for a $200 pizza party – so grab some friends and come down!
If you’d like to host a fire pit, reach out to Erica Foster at [email protected], or send a message through the Friends of Holliston Trails Facebook page.
Any money raised from the New Year’s Eve celebration will benefit The Friends of the Holliston Trails, which in turn supports improvements on the trail. The group would love to spread the word that volunteers are extremely welcome.
Prieve explains that the Friends group has installed signage not only to help trail users find their way, but also to help them understand how best to be courteous on the trail.
“This isn’t something unique to the rail trail,” says Prieve. She explains, for example, that bicyclists should always give a warning to walkers on the trail, either verbally or with a bell, to signal their approach. Bicycles should yield to walkers, but both walkers and bicycles should yield to horses.
“People are allowed to ride horses on the trail,” says Prieve. Such rules serve to keep trail users safe.
In addition, the Friends of Holliston Trails will be adding more dog waste stations, and as usual, will encourage dog walkers and everyone else to “carry in, carry out” their trash. More information on the trail rules and updates can currently be found on the Friends of Holliston Trails page on Facebook. Currently, says Prieve, the group is updating its website,, and that should be rolled out by the early part of the new year.