SOUTHINGTON -The committee behind White Christmas in the Community is set to meet in January, hoping to create another highly successful event like the one held this December.
Town Council member Dawn Miceli, one of the main organizers behind the event which is held both in downtown Southington and in Plantsville, said that thousands of people attended December’s event.
The popularity of this year’s event, Miceli said, should help the committee to raise the money it needs to make things even better next year.
“It’s a cyclical effect,” she said. “The more we do, the more people want to be a part of it. This is an economic opportunity for our community - it gets more people to visit our businesses and more and more businesses are getting involved. We raised money to give out hundreds of lights this year for businesses to put in their shop windows and show their support.”
Miceli said that several participating businesses and organizations were very pleased with the turnout.
“Bangle, a newer business in town, told us that they had more than 300 people stopping in,” said Miceli. “Christine Romano, the owner, said that she was ‘astounded.’ She has been in talks with us about next year having a jazz ensemble perform in her shop.”
Another place that saw a lot of turnout was The Barnes Museum, a town-owned museum that features antiques belonging to Bradley Barnes and his family.
The home was donated to the town for preservation after his death in the ‘70s. During the White Christmas in the Community event, people were able to take tours of the museum and listen to the Southington Chamber Singers perform Christmas carols.
“The curator, Marie Secondo, called us the next day and said she was ‘overwhelmed’ by the turnout,” said Miceli. “White Christmas was able to introduce people who had maybe never even heard of the museum to what it had to offer.”
“We had 300 people, children and their families, pass through the museum,” said Secondo. “Our museum has earned a good reputation for having phenomenal decorations and we always give out hot apple cider donated by ShopRite.”
Secondo added that the museum received three times the number of charitable donations from visitors this year.
“The committee has done a phenomenal job in uniting our downtown and Plantsville,” said Secondo. “This event has received nothing but rave reviews from people that participated. We’re very pleased with it.”
Terri Battaglia, a volunteer with Bradley Mountain Soaps, said that the “goat ambassadors” the farm brought (goats dressed as reindeer) drew big crowds and that children quickly became “quite attached to them.”
A new addition to this year’s event, Miceli added, was the American Legion, where people went to visit with Santa Claus.
“Their members reached out to us and said that they were so happy to see the hall packed,” said Miceli. “There were lines going out the door. I’d imagine their doors will never be closed that night going forward.
Looking ahead to next year’s event, Miceli said that Southington Public Library has expressed interest in getting involved. They will be asking the town council for special permission to stay open that night.
“Sue Smayda, the library director, said that so many people working there told her that they want to participate,” she said. “People could come in and the librarians could read them Christmas stories like “Twas the Night Before Christmas.”
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or email@example.com.