25th Annual Burr Homestead event draws big crowds
(Appeared on Fairfield.Patch.com 12/11)
By Mike Lauterborn
© 2010. All Rights Reserved.
Fairfield, CT – When Santa opened his house for a visit, he probably didn’t bargain on having the whole community tromp through.
But that was the case Saturday Dec. 11 when the Junior Women’s Club of Fairfield opened to the public the Burr Homestead at 739 Old Post Road for its 25th Annual “A Visit to Santa’s House” event. Scheduled for 10am-4pm today and 10am to 2pm on Sunday, Dec. 12, the affair is made possible by presenting sponsor Newman’s Own, house sponsor General Electric and a host of other companies sponsoring specific activity rooms. The event benefits Brady’s Smile, a Fairfield-based non-profit that helps families with children in the neo-natal and pre-natal ICU’s at local hospitals.
Bridget Perry, Co-Chair of the event and a JWC member, said the whole house was devoted to the event and that this was the second year that JWC was supporting Brady’s Smile. Last year, the event raised $18,500 for the organization.
Perry led Patch on a tour, beginning with a room to the right of the entry hall that contained donated items, including many gift baskets, for a raffle. While parents reviewed these, their children could have their faces painted or take a photo with a costumed Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.
Facepainter Caroline Kane, 14, applied a Christmas tree design on seven-year-old C.J. Vinas’ cheek while Vinas’ mom Jennifer looked on. “We wanted to see Santa and have some fun in Fairfield,” Jennifer mentioned.
An adjacent back room contained baked goods donated by JWC members as well as gingerbread houses and kits, all for sale. Perry said that pizza, water and Goldfish snacks would also be available later in the day.
In a kitchen area, Mrs. Claus visited with children like Grace McCormack, 6, and brother Liam, 4, who were visiting with mom Siobhan. “We’re having fun,” Siobhan said. “We came to see Santa and all the decorations and get into the season.”
A back entertainment room with big picture windows was hosted by Little Gym and featured a rotating schedule of activities including dance and music provided by Lenihan School of Irish Dance, Flash Pointe Dance, World Champion Taekwondo and Suzuki Music School. Madeline Gilhuly, 5, was recruited for an interactive session while parents Bill and Samantha and sister Lucy, 2, sat by.
“We came out to see Santa and do arts and crafts and enjoy the holidays,” said Samantha.
A last room on the main floor was devoted to crafts and, there, JWC volunteer Sue Martin worked on greeting card designs with six-year-old twin daughters Lindsay and Lauren. Parents and children at several stations busily worked on cards, ornaments and wrapping paper.
On the second floor, a gift shop sponsored by Southport dentist Dr. Salvatore Pizzino featured small toy items that children could buy for their siblings. There was also a second free style craft area here and a small room in which artist Deborah O’Connor created silhouettes of visitors.
Another entertainment room sponsored by Giant Steps Toy Store featured rotating activities including storytime, holiday puppet shows and instrumental performances. Next door, a train room sponsored by Hobbytown contained a G-Scale train circling a small tree and passing through Christmassy scenes.
In the hallway, Gabby Camarro, 9, and friend Emily Cholokian, 9, were picture posing with a costumed Frosty the Snowman character. Gabby’s dad, Tom, remarked, “I love to bring them down for Santa and to see the dancing. It gets them in the spirit.”
“We love Christmas! It’s awesome!” the girls squealed.
Of course, Santa’s House wouldn’t be Santa’s House without Santa and there the jolly fellow sat in his own sectioned off front room under heavy security – or at least a couple of helpers that escorted young visitors to see him. One visitor was Elizabeth Magy, 5, attending with parents Russ and Amy, from Fairfield. “Elizabeth wished for Zhu Zhu Park. It’s just magical in here. It’s the place to be,” said Amy.
Perry agreed, citing, “There’s something for everyone and kids of all ages. Community organized and funded. We encourage area residents to make this event part of their family tradition.”