Winterfest parade and vigil unify community

By Lauri Voter - Staff Writer
Stafford - posted Wed., Dec. 19, 2012
Santa is transported by a rescue boat during Stafford's Winterfest. Photos by Lauri Voter.
Santa is transported by a rescue boat during Stafford's Winterfest. Photos by Lauri Voter.

The holiday spirit that area residents demonstrated over-ruled the grey skies and pending precipitation of Sunday, Dec. 16, as they gathered on Main Street in Stafford Springs to experience Winterfest 2012. The event featured the Stafford Community and Civic Affairs Commission’s annual Winterfest parade. Parade marchers, including local dignitaries, students from Stafford schools, community organizations and public safety groups tossed candy to spectators as they marched along Main Street.

Stepping off from Olympic Circle, the parade route led marchers and floats down Main Street, concluding at Stafford Town Hall, where the festivities gave way to a vigil held to commemorate the victims of the tragic incident at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., just a few days prior. The Stafford High School Madrigals sang as members of the community, school officials, local and state officials, students and clergy members – many with vigil candles in hand – listened solemnly.

Pastor Kris Young of Hope Springs Church addressed the crowd, saying there are brighter days ahead. “Things are not as dark as you think they are,” said Young, encouraging the crowd to be hopeful. A commemorative wreath, adorned with 20 ribbons in honor of the young victims, was placed on the facade of the Town Hall. Bouquets of green and white balloons, the colors of Sandy Hook, were released to conclude the ceremony.

Following the vigil, Winterfest resumed, with the crowd dispersing to enjoy the bonfire, caroling and refreshments.

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