Only two applications have been proposed for holiday displays in Bethel this year. Both are sponsored by Bethel United Methodist Church and Tim Martin for P.T. Barnum Square. He proposed the traditional creche, which has been displayed for years, and a menorah, which was put up for the first time last year.
Both are proposed to be displayed from today through January 7th.
The Bethel Board of Selectmen adopted regulations last year calling for applications to be entered into a lottery if there are too many seeking the same parcel of land.
The holiday displays are allowed on P.T. Barnum Square between the Tuesday before Thanksgiving through January 7th. A Bethel resident or organization can apply. The application period is October 1st to November 7th. Displays can only take up a third of the total square footage of the property. Applicants must have insurance. Applications can be rejected for public safety concerns.
First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker had proposed at the Board's meeting last week that they move the start date to the Saturday after Thanksgiving. He said that would leave more room for people gathering for the tree lighting, typically held the Friday after Thanksgiving. Since it's a virtual event this year, the Selectmen decided to hold off on changing the regulation.
Selectman Rich Straiton said he still hopes to move tree lighting to municipal center in future years.
The regulation and application process came up after a resident submitted a proposal to hang a banner, wishing a happy holidays from 'your friendly atheist neighbors' on P.T. Barnum Square, at the same time as a creche.