To the Editor:
On behalf of the Children’s Holiday Festival Committee and the Bristol Chamber of Commerce, I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who contributed to the 27th Annual Children’s Holiday Festival of Events that occurred from Nov. 24 through Dec. 3.
Numerous children’s activities were planned for the entire week. Whether it was a “Breakfast with Santa,” a movie night, making a holiday ornament, a craft fair, or a festive Carol Sing, all ages enjoyed it. The festival event always ends with the Children’s Holiday Parade (parade in reverse), which attracts over 1,200 children and over 4,000 participants.
We are so pleased to see that the unique parade has become a popular tradition in our city and that we have expanded it to a week-long festival that includes a variety of events planned for children and families throughout the week. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my co-chair, Katie D’Agostino and the Children’s Holiday Committee, which includes Susan Casey, Mary Lynn Gagnon, Sheila Kelley, Wanita Parent and Mary Stinchon. In addition, I thank our Chamber staff, Dee Babkirk, Jill Fitzgerald, Joyce Lukasewski, Sarah Nixon and Cindy Bombard, president/CEO along with our volunteers, the pageant girls, for assisting with the distribution of bags to all the children attending the parade. New for this year, was the group of veterans from the Forestville American Legion Post #209 that led the parade with us by carrying our banner and also assisting with the distribution of bags to the children. We were very honored to have them present at this year’s parade. Our sincere thanks to the city of Bristol, Public Works Department and to our Police Department and Police Explorers for keeping everyone safe along the parade route; and we can’t forget the Bristol Fire Department for being there the past 27 years with their generous supply of hot cocoa at the end of the parade route.
We also thank the many festival participants, sponsors and/or parade vendors who played a major role in the success of the festival.
The success of this annual event is due in large part because of these wonderful people. The majority of these folks have been involved with the festival for the past 27 years and we are so pleased to welcome new participants every year, with many from outside the Bristol area.
We also thank the citizens that dropped off non-perishable food items, winter mittens and hats at the start of the parade. Our “Share the Warmth” project is always a blessing to those in need and our generous community always shines bright when it comes to giving. Our city is truly “All Heart.”
May we all be blessed this holiday season with peace and joy and embrace the wonder of it all by experiencing it through the eyes of a child.
On a personal note, I want to express my delight in working on this particular event for the past 21 years. With my upcoming retirement from the Bristol Chamber of Commerce, it is my holiday wish to Santa that the tradition will continue for many years to come. Happy, healthy New Year to one and all!
Linda D. DiMatteo
Central CT Chambers of Commerce/Bristol Chamber of Commerce