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Tree Lighting Events Will Welcome Holiday Season



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NOTE (Wednesday, November 27, 2019): Due to inclement weather expected on Sunday, the Adopt A Lamppost event scheduled for December 1 in Sandy Hook is being moved up by 24 hours, to Saturday, November 30. The story has been updated.

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Newtown will once again hold three tree lightings this holiday season. All are scheduled for the weekend of December 6-8.

The 35th Annual Ram Pasture Tree Lighting is scheduled for Friday, December 6. The event will begin with musical performances at 6:30 pm and continue with the tree lighting at 7 pm. There will be additional caroling, refreshments, and visits with Santa and Mrs Claus at the historic pasture along Elm Drive.

In the hours leading up to this year’s event, Newtown Parks & Recreation employees will be placing luminarias around Ram Pasture and on nearby roadways leading to the historic property on Elm Drive.

The 19th Annual Sandy Hook Tree Lighting will take place the following night, on Saturday, December 7.

The event is being coordinated by Sandy Hook Organization for Prosperity and will begin at 4 pm. Activities will be centered around the area of Church Hill Road, Washington Avenue, Riverside Road, and Glen Road.

Children of all ages are invited to meet Santa Claus, who will be arriving at 5 pm to begin visiting with attendees. Those who offer Santa a nonperishable donation for FAITH Food Pantry will be entered into a drawing to have the honor of lighting the trees that night.

Karaoke will be ongoing in the area of The Glen, where one of two trees will be lit at 6 pm. The trees are on the corners of Church Hill at Washington and Washington at Riverside, opposite each other.

Caroling and more karaoke will follow after the two trees are lit.

Faith at Newtown, at 4 Riverside Road, will again host a Live Nativity presentation during the special event.

The Tenth Annual Hawleyville Tree Lighting and Toy Drive will then follow on Sunday, December 8.

Residents are invited to gather at Barnabas Plaza, 23 Barnabas Road, for the one-hour event scheduled to begin at 5:30 pm.

Holiday festivities will take place, including performances by local dance students from Dance Etc. Hot chocolate, cookies, soda, and other light refreshments, including pizza from Papa Al’s, will be served, and — if everyone is well-behaved — a visit from Santa and Mrs Claus, delivered courtesy of Hawleyville Volunteer Fire Department, will also be part of the evening. John Voket will be the master of ceremonies.

Those planning to attend are asked to consider bringing with them an unwrapped toy or gift to be collected for The Newtown Fund, which benefits local families.

This event is organized by Stony Hill Four Corners, a business association covering the Hawleyville section of Newtown and the Stony Hill section of Bethel.

Ram Pasture Fundraising

Parks & Rec has taken over the coordination and fundraising for the Ram Pasture Tree Lighting. Donations of $10 each will cover one luminaria or one bulb.

Checks should be made out to Newtown Parks & Recreation, with Tree Lighting Donation on the memo line, and mailed — with Tree Lighting Form on this page filled in — to Newtown Parks & Recreation, 8 Simpson Street, Newtown CT 06470. Forms and checks can also be dropped off at the Parks & Rec office weekdays between 8 am and 4:30 pm.

In addition, The Committee of The Ram Pasture Christmas Tree & Luminaria Event is asking local businesses and organizations for financial help.

Diana Johnson, who long served as a liaison between the Tree Lighting Committee and The Chamber of Commerce of Newtown, said the Chamber “graciously sponsored this event for the past 34 years.

“Many of Newtown’s residents assume that this holiday tradition is provided and paid for by the town,” Ms Johnson said on behalf of the new committee. While Parks & Rec has long provided most of the labor and coordination, “we must now rely on the generosity of others to cover the costs of services and items such as tree lights, lighting, sound system, candles, LEDs, and candy canes,” she said.

“Committed volunteers continue to help with the myriad tasks that are required,” she added.

While the Borough of Newtown had provided a foundation fund for the tree lighting committee to launch from, “their budgets require annual passage and cannot be taken for granted,” Ms Johnson said. “Our goal is to maintain and preserve the tradition of this noncommercial magical event and establish sources of annual commitment.”

Those funds would be drawn on, she said, when tree lights need to be replaced and other costs arise.

“Any commitment is wonderful and greatly appreciated,” Ms Johnson noted.

Residents are also invited to purchase luminaria kits this holiday season. Introduced last year, the kits are meant to mirror the luminaria that surround Ram Pasture and line nearby roadways on the night of the tree lighting.

Each kit includes a sturdy cardboard box with cutouts in the shapes of a tree and a star, with clear plastic protecting the cutout spaces, and one plumber’s candle. Each candle burns for eight to ten hours, according to volunteers.

Kits are $3 each, or two for $5, and can be purchased at C.H. Booth Library, 25 Main Street; Newtown Hardware, 61 Church Hill Road; the Newtown Parks & Recreation office, within Newtown Community Center at 8 Simpson Street (weekdays only, between 8 am and 4:30 pm, when the office is open); Queen Street Gifts & Treats, 3 Queen Street; and Sal e Pepe Contemporary Italian Bistro, 97 South Main Street.

For additional information on any Ram Pasture fundraising, contact Diana Johnson at 203-426-5418 or Newtown Parks & Recreation, 203-270-4340.

Sandy Hook Fundraising Efforts

The Sandy Hook Organization for Prosperity (SHOP) has launched its third annual “Celebrate the Season” in Sandy Hook, which includes fundraising now underway and several seasonal events during the month of December.

The public is invited to Adopt A Lamppost, which covers 57 lampposts in the area of Church Hill Road, Glen Road, Riverside Road, and Washington Avenue. There are four bridge poles, six large poles, and 47 smaller poles that are seeking adopting.

Adoption fees are $50 for the smaller poles, $100 for the larger and bridge poles and include pine roping, a bow, lights, and an oversize customizable gift tag to display.

Members of SHOP will host a special Adopt A Lamppost Event on Saturday, November 30, at 10 am. Friends, families, businesses, community organizations, et al are all invited to join SHOP for that event, when they can decorate their poles.

BYO step ladders if possible. SHOP members will be on hand to demonstrate the proper way to wrap a lamppost to withstand the windy weather of the season.

According to SHOP’s Marketing Director Julie Friend, “the decorated poles add a beautiful touch to the holiday season in historic Sandy Hook Village, especially when you drive or walk through at night.”

To Adopt a lamppost ahead of November 30, visit sandyhookvillage.com/adopt-a-lamppost.

SHOP will also host Pictures with Santa on Sunday, December 15.

This is a kid-friendly, family event for all ages. Parents are invited to bring their camera and/or phone to take a picture of their child(ren) with Santa, while letting their child(ren) ask for that one special gift.

The event will be held from noon until 3 pm in the red brick building at 1 Riverside Road.

There is no charge for the event, but a donation to the Heritage Trail Project or hot chocolate for Santa and his helpers would be welcomed. Donations for FAITH Food Pantry will also be accepted.

Finally, the 2019 Sandy Hook holiday ornament — third in the collection that debuted in 2017 — has been unveiled. This year’s ornament is in the shape of a tree, complete with a star on top and a handful of ornaments. The pewter ornament is $20 and is again being sold in gift boxes, ready for gifting and/or safe storage.

The ornaments can be purchased at Nick’s Chilled & Distilled, Sabrina Style, Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire & Rescue’s main station, and Strength and Grace Boutique, all within Sandy Hook Center.

Details about all events can be at sandyhookvillage.com or facebook.com/experiencesandyhook.

Diana Johnson, left, was helped on November 20 by Marg Studley, center, and Arline Shanley in packing up luminaria boxes that will be sold to raise funds to maintain the Ram Pasture trees that are lit for the holidays. The public is invited to purchase the kits, which mirror those that are used on the night of the tree lighting to line Ram Pasture and nearby roads leading to that location. —Bee Photo, Hicks
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