By SHERIDAN CYR
White Christmas in the Community brought out the Christmas spirit last Friday, uniting the downtown centers of both Southington and Plantsville for one night of wholesome holiday fun.
Businesses in each town center were open for the event, each with a holiday activity of their own. In Plantsville, Santa Claus visited the fire house for photos and to hear the wishes of boys and girls. Horse-drawn trolleys traveled up and down the road. Mrs. Claus read stories at Calvanese Realty. Carols could be heard all about, and a toasty fire roasted chestnuts at Faith Living Church.
Giulianna Truss, age six, was first in line to meet Santa at the fire house. “It was fun meeting Santa,” she said. “I wished for a puzzle.” Truss was most excited for story time with Mrs. Claus.
Wish number two was cast by nine year old Makenna Vose, who asked for a Baby Alive doll.
Outside of Zingarella, volunteers from Southington Community Services collected monetary donations for the “Dreams Can Come True” collection to purchase a gift from a Southington child’s or senior citizen’s holiday wish list. Volunteer Bill Leonard reported that the organization has collected $33,000 over the last seven years, all to provide Christmas gifts for those who cannot afford them.
At 5:30 p.m., it was time for the first tree lighting of the event in downtown Plantsville. Five year old Cecilia DiGiovanni of Southington was chosen at random to flip the switch to light the downtown center with hundreds of shimmering white lights. At 6:30 p.m., four year old Emma Marques of Plantsville was randomly chosen to light the Southington town green.
Rob Flood, one of the volunteers in the White Christmas in the Community Committee, watched the lights in Plantsville flash on and cheered.
“This is just awesome,” said Flood. He explained that this year, being the second year of the combined Southington-Plantsville event, was moving much smoother than its debut last year. Part of that was related to increased transportation to-and-from each downtown, and the staggering of the two lightings.
“We especially want to thank all of the amazing sponsors who came out to support this event and the volunteers who are giving their time to help,” said Flood. The event was organized by the committee and by the Merchants of Downtown Southington and the Village of Plantsville Association.
In downtown Southington, horse-drawn carriages traveled along Center Street, locals made their own ornaments at Southington Community Cultural Arts, Bradley Mountain Goats dressed as reindeer and greeted guests, and kids got up close and personal with Southington fire engines. Hayrides drove past lighted structures on the rail-trail.
Dawn Miceli, also a committee member, said the event showed the “true spirit of Southington, and the spirit of volunteerism.” In Southington, she took the stage and invited everyone to join her and other council members in holiday songs, then led the countdown to light it up.
The night on the town is fun for all, including business owners. Amy Kline, owner of Vintage from the Heart on Center Street, decked the halls of her store to welcome visitors for the store’s handmade housewarming novelties. Her husband donned a Santa garb to greet children outside the store.
“I just love hearing the sound of the horses’ hooves clicking up and down the road,” said Kline. “We love this event, and it’s a great opportunity for us to meet everyone.”
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Sheridan Cyr, email her at SCyr@SouthingtonObserver.com.
Photos by JANELLE MORELLI