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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Holiday Season ‘Kickoff’ Thursday in Downtown

By James Lomuscio

Bob LeRose says that the holiday celebrations set for Thursday evening downtown will mark the first time Westport has has an “official kickoff” to the season.

“We’ve always had a natural end to the holiday season with First Night, but we’ve never had an official kickoff,” said LeRose, president of the Downtown Merchants Association (DMA). “So, we just thought it would be great to have the community gather downtown on Dec. 1.”

The evening is set to begin with a Town Hall Christmas Tree lighting ceremony at 4:30 p.m. followed by hot cocoa at the Westport Historical Society and at 5 p.m., an all out celebration inside and outside the new Great Hall at Christ & Holy Trinity Church on Church Lane.

“We looked at several options, and we thought this would be a great way to welcome that new hall to the downtown,” said LeRose.

“We looked at several options, and we thought this would be a great way to welcome that new hall to the downtown,” said LeRose.

The event will feature the Staples High School Orphenians, jazz pianist Chris Coogan, outside ice sculptures, a fire pit demonstration courtesy of Gault, Inc. and plenty of complimentary “food and spirits” being served up by local businesses.

The DMA has also tied the event into a fund-raiser for 14 local nonprofit groups that will be seeking donations.

“I’ll be serving our smokehouse chili which we just won the Chili Fest with in October,” said LeRose, owner of Bobby Q’s on Main Street. “Oscar’s will be serving up soup, the Blue Lemon will be providing drinks, and many nonprofits will be there.

“And Santa will make a visit, and children can have their picture taken with Santa,” he said. “It’s going to be a nice event at no cost to the public, and people can come and have a nice community gathering.”

According to Cathy Colgan, DMA’s events coordinator, the celebration was designed as a continuation of the festivities set to begin with the Town Hall tree lighting.

“You can do a meandering thing,” she said. “See the tree lighting at 4:30, go to hot chocolate at the Historical Society until 5, and come here. Our event begins at 5 and continues to 7:30.”

“It’s an opportunity this holiday season for the community to gather and enjoy our downtown area and to support the organizations that make Westport a special place,” she added. “And, many of those organizations are located downtown.”

Among the nonprofits scheduled to attend are: Westport Arts Center, Westport Country Playhouse, Levitt Pavilion, First Night, Westport Home Energy Challenge, Westport Woman’s Club, Westport Young Woman’s League, Westport Warm-up Fund, Westport Public Library, Homes With Hope and the Sunrise Rotary.

“They will have a wish list, and this is a way for people to make donations to their favorite organizations,” Colgan said.

“And if people feel compelled to donate to the nonprofits, that’s great, and if they don’t, that’s no big deal,” said LeRose. “This event truly is about the community of Westport coming together and sharing in holiday cheer.” 

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Posted 11/30/11 at 07:13 PM  Permalink



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