Chaplin's Saturday chock full of holiday events
By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Chaplin - posted Tue., Dec. 4, 2012
Chaplin Elementary School first-grader Benjamin approached Resident State Trooper Paul Black with a magic set and a collection of “Magic Treehouse” books. He shyly handed them over to the officer, then retreated quickly to his father. Black added the offerings to the back seat of a squad car already stuffed full of toys and games. It was about 1:30 p.m., and the trooper had manned the “Stuff a Cruiser” event in front of the town volunteer fire station since 9 a.m. that morning. A large pile of gifts had already accumulated in the hall at the station. “We usually fill the cruiser up twice,” said Black.
The toys were earmarked for the Tommy Toy Fund of Windham County. “They’ll go out to kids in Windham County,” said Don Bond, the Windham-area Tommy Toy chairman. Bond said that between 1,500 and 1,800 toys went out in Windham county last year. "I expect we'll be close to, if not above, what we've had in the past with the economy being the way it is," said Bond.
Joe Pinto watched as the cruiser filled. He was at the fire station to prepare for the town’s annual tree-lighting celebration, scheduled for later that evening. “It’s really grown a lot,” said Pinto, “not only the tree, but the whole event.” Planted several years ago after Pinto’s wife pushed for a holiday event for the town, the tree has, indeed, grown much larger. But so has the celebration that has grown up around it. At first, the event featured a performance by the Parish Hill High School choir and hot chocolate served by the local Boy Scouts. This year, in addition to those features, the celebration planned to bring back refreshments from the local Dunkin’ Donuts and crafts for the children, and add performances by the Parish Hill Middle School and high school jazz bands. “I didn’t even have to ask,” said Pinto. “I was told that the jazz bands wanted to perform.”
Meanwhile, down the road a bit, the Chaplin Elementary School PTO was holding its annual craft sale. There is an annual breakfast that kicks off the sale, proceeds from which go to benefit the sixth-grade class. Then visitors shop the halls of the school, which are lined with offerings of all types. Jim Misiek offered sterling silver jewelry. But the focus of his booth were the wood spirits carved out of wood. Misiek said that one, carved from Ironwood, was done by a man named Clinton from River Bend, Oregon. “He’s teaching me to do this through Skype,” said Misiek. He indicated a rolling pin featuring the carved face of a wizened old man. “I was in the middle of a Skype lesson and I ran out of wood so I grabbed this out of the drawer,” said Misiek. “I’d hate to tell you what my significant other had to say about that.”