SOUTHWICK-In less than three months, the front lobby and front lawn of the Southwick Town Hall will be transformed into a winter wonderland.
A Winter Forest & Craft Fair is slated Dec. 7 from 4 – 8 p.m., hosted by members of the Southwick Civic Fund.
“The Southwick Civic Fund was created because my father, Joe Deedy, wanted to fill the void of the town fireworks fundraising,” said Elizabeth Deedy. “We had already been hosting our free Thanksgiving and toy drive events under our family business Moolicious Farms and creating a nonprofit was the next step to be able to raise money for fireworks, receive toy donations, and support other causes and community events.”
Deedy explained that the fund’s board of directors had been considering this idea for years but lacked the time to put all of the logistics together.
“We thought the 250th anniversary year would be the best time to debut this event,” said Deedy, adding it is being promoted as the kickoff event to the 250th celebration.
Deedy noted that she “absolutely loves” Christmas and those feelings run in her family.
“My grandfather, Joseph M. Deedy, loved Christmas as well,” she said. “I’ve always wondered why the Town of Southwick didn’t host a Christmas tree lighting like some other towns do, so I brought the idea to our board of directors and it has morphed into this great event.”
Deedy said she hopes to have between 25 and 50 real trees outside on the front lawn, and approximately 10 artificial trees for the inside lobby.
“We have decided to have two tiers of sponsorship to give businesses, families, and groups some options to decorate a tree,” said Deedy.
A silver sponsorship is $100 per tree and participants are required to decorate the tree and be responsible for removing the decorations. A gold sponsorship is $200 per tree and the Southwick Civic Fund could purchase decorations and decorate the tree.
“The gold sponsor can definitely decorate their own tree, but we offered it just in case a business or family cannot be there to decorate but still wants to participate,” said Deedy. “We are hoping that a majority of our trees will be decorated by others. That’s the whole point – to have a large, all-inclusive community event.”
Deedy noted that the real trees will be purchased from Coward Farms and the majority of artificial trees have been donated by members on a local Facebook forum called Buy Nothing.
“I am a member on Buy Nothing and the wonderful families there donated artificial trees for this event,” said Deedy. “We are still looking for one or two more trees to fill out the lobby.”
First, second and third place ribbons for tree decorations will be announced on Dec. 20.
As part of the evening’s festivities, Moolicious Farms will be donating the hot chocolate and the Southwick Regional School band members will perform a variety of festive music.
Southwick’s select board members will conduct the tree lighting which is slated at 5:30 p.m.
“The Girl Scout Service Unit from the Southern Tri Towns will be providing the baked goodies and will be keeping all the proceeds from their bake sale,” said Deedy.
Of course, a holiday celebration wouldn’t be complete without Santa Claus, and Deedy and her team of volunteers are still working on logistics to transport Santa from the North Pole to Southwick. Santa’s arrival is planned for 6:30 p.m. and will have surprises for all of the children in attendance.
“We were hoping to fly him in by helicopter, but due to the location, it doesn’t seem that it’s do-able,” said Deedy. “We are open to other transportation options, and are actively looking for his ride.”
Deedy’s team of volunteers working behind the scenes include Chris and Heather Allen, Kevin Bishop, Joe and Kristi Deedy, Corey LeClair, Ronald Deedy and Emily Comee-Deedy, Ian Crestwell and Jim Putnam.
“We are always looking for more volunteers,” said Deedy.
Local persons wishing to showcase their homemade crafts or specialty food items are also encouraged to submit an application for a 6’ x 6’ booth space, however, space is limited so early registration is recommended. The fee is $50 per space.
For applications and more details on sponsoring trees or being a vendor, visit www.southwickcivicfund.org.
Deedy noted that the civic fund’s board of directors are hopeful to break even during this first winter forest event.
“If we are fortunate to raise additional funds past our costs (purchasing the trees and decorations for undecorated trees) they will be divvied up between all the programs we offer throughout the year,” she said.
The winter forest will remain lit every night during December, added Deedy.