On Sunday I received a message from Bobby Fantarella while I was en route to a holiday party.
He said “Fantarella Farm will have its annual Christmas Float hitting all the restaurants on Rt 1. Christmas Caroling all the standards and a few contemporary songs.”
That was so intriguing, If nothing else I knew I had to follow them and get some pictures and video clips to share with anyone who missed it.
After the party, I went home, attended to my dog and then had her jump in the car so we could see what this Christmas Float was all about.
At the farm It was easy to find the crew, a tractor, covered in Christmas lights was hooked up to a terrific trailer that they use for hay rides.
Fantarella known for his Hot Rock DJ Business and for providing his sound system at the Orange Country Fair and other events, naturally had a complete sound system on the trailer next to a line of hay bales and an electric yule log. A lighted Santa Blow Mold graced the front of the trailer behind his tractor and three handsome molded plastic “Wooded Soldiers” keeping watch over the back of the trailer.
The entire trailer was lined with colorful Christmas lights, every caroler, and driver Fantarella wore red and white Santa hats, and they were ready to go. I put my flashers on and followed them and we made our way to the Boston Post Road — at 5 mph.
Before we even got to the main thoroughfare, passing drivers were honking their horns and waving. I could feel the excitement, even though Mi Sun and I were in a separate vehicle.
Things really picked up once we were on Route 1. The carolers were swaying back and forth on the hay bales singing along to the songs blaring from the sound system and people were slowing down to ride along side the trailer so their children could get a better view.
For everyone not directly involved, the Christmas Float was, in a word, “delightful.”
At nearly every business we pulled up to, customers and employees came outside, danced, sang along, joined the carolers on the trailer and had a blast!
We encountered some really enthusiastic folks, notably: at Home Depot; Outback; Puerto Vallarta, Orange Ale House; Wood n’ Tap; Corner Pocket, where they were having a pool tournament; and Bear and Grill.
People would try to give Fantarella money and asked, “What are you raising money for?”
He laughed and said, “Nothing, we’re just spreading Christmas cheer!”
His response really surprised everyone – if not for money, than why do it?
One of the carolers told me that last year it was freezing out, and less than two weeks after the Sandy Hook Tragedy, but the Christmas Float helped raise people’s spirits and let them know that everything would be okay.
After a few stops, someone asked if I was ready to leave my car and join them. But I was worried about my dog. She just turned 2 on Monday and I wasn’t sure if she would sit still or try to jump off the trailer.
Everyone assured me she would be fine, so I locked the car, slapped on my Santa hat, picked Mi Sun up and put her on the trailer and found a spot on a hay bale.
The feeling was different on the trailer than following behind it, much more fun and joyous, and the same amount of fun watching everyone’s reactions in passing cars.
The puppy-dog surprised me by laying down or just sitting still beside me and not pulling any stunts while we were moving.
There were many memorable moments from this evening, but I think my personal favorite was at Puerto Vallarta where the Mariachi Singers came out, each stopping to pat Mi Sun on the head before climbing up on the trailer to sing Feliz Navidad with us while customers watched through the windows. It was a giant party and everyone was having a great time. The Dunkin’ Donuts Employees were watching and snapping photos and people at a Christmas party were pouring out of Bear and Grill to join in on the fun.
The carolers had the most fun wherever the audience was enthusiastic, for example, at the Olive Garden patrons looked out the window, but no one came outside. Yet the kitchen staff couldn’t help but take a moment to sing along and dance with a couple of the girls.
If you saw the Christmas Float, you know what I’m talking about. It was so much fun, and such a great feeling to be able to make others feel good just by being there.
When we parted ways my dog even joined in on the caroling when Bobby Jr. played the barking dogs version of Jingle Bells — so funny, and she was in key, too.
I thank Bobby Fantarella, his kids, Brittany and Bobby and all the other merry carolers for welcoming me and Mi Sun and I truly hope to be part of it again next year.
Merry Christmas! (Happy Holidays – whatever you’re doing today and tomorrow) Enjoy the Holiday Season, be safe, and do something to make someone else happy.
Video to come, when i have time to process it.