Residents Invited To 'Celebrate The Season' In Sandy Hook

Published: November 17, 2017 at 12:00 am


A theme of "Celebrate The Season" will permeate Sandy Hook Center this year, beginning with the unveiling of a special ornament commissioned by Sandy Hook Organization for Prosperity (SHOP) on Friday, November 17.

The Sandy Hook Center Trees Lighting has been scheduled for Saturday, December 2, and then at least two caroling events will take place before the end of the month. A new fundraiser will also encourage residents to adopt the light poles within the business district in the area of Church Hill Road, Washington Avenue, Riverside Road, and Glen Road.

SHOP member Maribeth Hemingway said last week that she and other members of the local organization are hoping that this year's plans will extend the enjoyment of the season for all residents.

"We are doing more than the tree lighting, and offering more events for everyone to enjoy this year," Ms Hemingway said.

Members of SHOP will be removing the autumnal decorations from Sandy Hook Center and putting up holiday decorations on Sunday, November 26. SHOP regularly takes care of decorating the 46 lampposts that line the four streets leading into the center; businesses have long decorated their storefronts and sidewalks.

This year, SHOP is hoping residents will adopt the lampposts. Those who do so will be invited to join the decorating efforts on November 26.

There are six large lampposts, available for $100 each, and 40 additional poles, available for $50 each. Each donor will be recognized with a large gift tag on their pole, which will have their name on it. Partial proceeds will continue to fund the Museum in The Streets Project, providing a walking tour of the area.

Donors can be residents, groups, teams, houses of worship, or anyone who would like to be part of the fundraiser.

"SHOP is a lot more than the business owners," said Ms Hemingway, a perfect example of that. She and her husband have lived within the district for many years. They are not only proud to call Sandy Hook their home, they work hard to make it more attractive to residents and businesses. Neither owns a business within the district, but both are Residential Members of SHOP. Joe Hemingway has also served as president of SHOP.

"We're trying to get SHOP a little more known out there," said Julie Friend, SHOP's marketing director. "We're starting to reach out to more families and individuals to encourage membership."

A larger membership would mean additional volunteers when the organization presents regular events such as Passport To Sandy Hook or the annual Halloween Walk, she said.


Inaugural Ornament

Ms Friend designed the inaugural Sandy Hook ornament. Crafted of pewter and produced at Woodbury Pewter, the ornaments are in the shape of a heart and feature a swirling pattern visible on both sides. The ornaments measure just over 2¼ inches at their widest point, and are just over 2 inches tall.

Each will be sold with a ribbon for hanging, and in a box perfect for storing and/or gift giving.

Subsequent ornaments will be round and feature views within the region, but SHOP members wanted this year's debut ornament to really stand out.

"I love that it's a heart, which I can hang anywhere, year-round," Ms Hemingway mentioned. "It doesn't necessarily have to be hung up for Christmas."

Ms Friend also pointed out that this year's ornament does not have a date on it, which was done intentionally.

"We felt that this would also allow people to comfortably keep the ornament displayed for a long as they want, without it becoming dated," she said.

Each ornament is also accompanied by information about Sandy Hook and the ornament, including care instructions.

Ornaments are $20 each and can be purchased weekdays at SHOP's new office, within Betts Square at 107 Church Hill Road. The office, located just inside the main entrance (on the west side of the building), is open Monday through Friday, from 10 am to 4 pm.

The ornaments can also be purchased at Nick's Chilled & Distilled, at 102 Church Hill Road; and Sabrina Style, 4 Washington Avenue.

Members of SHOP will also have a table set up to sell ornaments at Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire & Rescue's main station, 18-20 Riverside Road, during the following times: Sunday, December 3, from 1 to 3 pm; Saturday, December 9, 11 am to 1 pm; Sunday, December 10, 1 to 3 pm; Saturday, December 16, 11 am to 1 pm; and Sunday, December 17, 1 to 7 pm.

The hours will be during the fire company's annual Christmas Tree sale. Firefighters will be selling Christmas trees, wreaths, pine roping, and cemetery boxes beginning November 24, and continuing until December 24, or while supplies last. The sale is a fundraiser for the 501(c)(3) company.


Tree Lighting Festivities

The 17th Annual Sandy Hook Tree Lighting has been scheduled for Saturday, December 2, with festivities in the center beginning at 4 pm.

Santa Claus will be arriving at 5 pm, and will be greeting children of all ages for the next hour.

Faith at Newtown will host a Live Nativity scene at its nearby 4 Riverside Road location. Pastor Tim Kuhn mentioned this week that he and his church will have actors and singers among the participants this year.

The Graceful Planet will host karaoke, and many businesses within the district traditionally host open house events.

The two trees in the center will be lit at 6 pm. Those attending the tree lighting are again being asked to bring with them a donation for FAITH Food Pantry. One lucky person will be invited to throw the switch to light one of the trees.

Caroling will continue that evening after the trees have been lit.


More Caroling Opportunities

Next this year will be at least two caroling events. Members of Newtown United Methodist Church, including its choir, are organizing the first event, set for Friday, December 8, at 6:30 pm.

Members of Faith at Newtown are organizing the next carol sing, on Sunday, December 17, also starting at 6:30.

All are invited to participate in either or both events, which will be near the lit tree on the corner of Washington Avenue and Riverside Road.

"We're hoping people will join in, or even gather people together and do their own caroling," Ms Hemingway.

"It doesn't even have to be organized by SHOP. We would love people to just come down and enjoy the spirit of the season."

Those who want to coordinate an event through the business group are also welcome to do so, said Ms Friend.

"If people want to contact us, that's fine," she said. "We'll help spread the word for them."

Additional special events are also possible for the 2017 holiday season, the two women said. Details are being finalized, and they hope to have a formal announcement within the next week.

SHOP can be reached at 614-738-1983, or through its website, sandyhookvillage.com.


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