A Wet And Dreary Holiday Festival Filled With Joy

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Dec 042018

The Orange Holiday Festival Committee works very hard to make the annual event fun for everyone. They can make up a schedule and cram a lot of activities into a very short period of time, but they can’t control the weather.

Even with a steady drizzle putting a damper on things, Sunday’s annual event was far from a washout. Al deCant brought smiles and excitement to children’s faces at the library. New visitors appreciated the history lessons they learned at the Stone-Otis House and Academy Building. And who doesn’t love the new model railroad layout in the Academy basement?

Over at the Congregational Church, the Bell Choir was magnificent as usual and guests were treated to something new, The Amity Chamber Singers performed in the balcony instead of at the traditional spot at the library.

The OVNA building had a lot of wonderful gingerbread creations and the fireplace Ice Sculpture was really something else.

The Case Memorial Library experienced less traffic this year due to two major changes. First, as previously mentioned, the absence of the Chamber Singers, and the “break” that the Friends of the Library took from their sponsored decorated tree display this year.

Two features that were appreciated were deCant’s performance, Letters to Santa, and the “guess how many candies” contest (run by Kim Browe).

Now, in its second year, the tractor parade drew the attention of the entire crowd, with more participants than last year. Led by Blue Fantarella, they slowly rolled up Orange Center Road, big tractors, little tractors, tractors pulling trailers, all beautifully decorated with lights, garland, inflatables, and lighted plastic blown figures.

The Orange Volunteer Fire Department then announced Santa’s arrival with horns and sirens as they delivered the jolly old elf to the bright-eyed children who’d been anticipating the chance to meet him in person.

Because of the rain, First Selectman Jim Zeoli sped things up a little this time so everyone wouldn’t have to spend any more time getting wet than necessary. A young boy, who’d been chosen came forward and flipped the switch with Buddy the Elf, and he was delighted.

Santa took a seat in the trailer that he and his elves made up in the North Pole and welcomed all of the children to come in and share their Christmas wishes. As expected, some little ones were apprehensive and wouldn’t come in without their mommy, but Santa is clever and found a way for nearly every parent to get a photo of their child with him. Even a puppy happily sat for a photo op.

One of the most sincere exchanges was from a group of Amity Chamber Singers who documented their visit with a selfie video, as they asked Santa for acceptance letters to the college of their choice(s).

Thank you to the Committee for their hard work and for pulling off another successful Holiday Festival — even if Mother Nature had other plans.


Church Youth Group Ready To Freeze Out This Weekend

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Jan 202016

file photo of the 2013 shanty town.

file photo of the 2013 shanty town.

Orange Congregational Church Pilgrim Fellowship Sr. Youth Group is hosting its annual fundraiser for Youth United of Habitat for Humanity of Coastal Fairfield County on Jan 22-23, 2016, starting at 6 p.m. Friday through 8 a.m. on Saturday morning.

They are doing a “Freeze Out” which entails a Shanty Town of cardboard boxes outside in front of the church. They’re hoping to have at least 15 teenagers and five adults to rotate the experience of living outside on a cold January night.

The purpose is to raise awareness about what Habitat for Humanity does while raising funds to build our 5th Youth United sponsored house in Bridgeport CT. They hope to raise at least $2,000 at this event. Any contributions are welcome and checks can be made out to: Habitat of Humanity of CFC/YU. Or just drive by and honk your horn to show your support!

For more information about the “Freeze-Out” or Youth United, please contact Beth Rafferty at the Orange Congregational Church at 203-795-9749.

Youth United Makes Freeze Out Goal for Habitat

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Jan 202013

The 2013 Freeze Out Shanty Town

The Orange Congregational Church Pilgrim Fellowship Sr. Youth Group built a shanty town of cardboard boxes and took turns sleeping inside it from 6 p.m. on Saturday until 9 a.m.

At least 20 kids participated in the “Freeze Out” in front of the Church to benefit Habitat for Humanity of Coastal Fairfield County, Youth United. Each one raised $35 in sponsorships to stay in the dwelling for a two-hour shift.

The event will help raise awareness about Homelessness, Habitat for Humanity, and their impact on the community. The goal of the Freeze Out is to raise at least $2,500 and the funds donated will be used to help build another Youth United house in Fairfield County. After completing a residence on Jane Street in Bridgeport, the group is anxious to start the third Youth United Habitat home.

Early in the evening Orange DARE Officer John Aquino stopped by to talk to the kids, and later everyone took a place on the floor and worked together to build heavy duty bird feeders to sell and raise more funds for Habitat.

By 9 p.m. the group had reached its monetary goal, according to Youth Leader Beth Rafferty.

To learn more about Habitat for Humanity visit https://blog.habitatcfc.org. Contributions are welcome and checks can be made out to ‘Habitat for Humanity of CFC/YU’ and mailed or hand delivered to Orange Congregational Church, 205 Meeting House Lane, Orange, CT 06477.