Monroe residents got into the Christmas spirit with a series of holiday-themed events during the day Saturday, hours before two tree lighting ceremonies featuring Santa and Mrs. Claus and Frosty the Snowman.
A line formed outside the East Village-Barn Hill Methodist Meeting House on Barn Hill Road in the morning, as shoppers waited their turns to enter the Monroe Historical Society’s annual Christmas Fair inside. Among them were Frank and Tobie Rockwell of Milford.
“We come here every year,” Tobie said. “I loved when the little schoolhouse had it. It was quaint, but they needed more room.”
“They have older stuff, unusual things we don’t see today,” Frank said of the Historical Society’s sale.
Tobie had bought a snowman cookie jar and Frank bought battery operated carousel toys and a Christmas ornament that plays holiday music.
“Every year, I look forward to it,” said Madeline Krushinsky of Monroe. “I used to come with a group of friends, who aren’t around anymore, so I came by myself. I don’t really need anything, but if I see something I like … some things remind you of stuff from when you were a little kid.”
Christy Davis, of Monroe, brought her two children, Michael, 4, and Isabella, 3, to the fair. She bought Christmas decorations, ornaments, gifts and wind chimes. “And we’re looking for a wreath right now,” she said.
The Monroe Historical Society Christmas Fair was held on Friday and Saturday and it will also be open this Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Volunteers Jane O’Reilly and Amy Callahan greeted customers from behind the counter, while Mary Kellogg checked the inventory.
“Yesterday was steady,” Callahan said.
“And today we have lines, which is great,” O’Reilly added. “People enjoy coming and seeing treasures. It’s fun seeing the old stuff. What’s special is we’re always putting new stuff out. We have a lot of customers who come two or three times — and our prices are very reasonable.”
“We have a basket raffle for free ornaments, toys, candles, wreaths, cookies and delicious English muffin bread everyone dies for,” O’Reilly said.
Boy Scout Troop 203
Members of Boy Scout Troop 203 Monroe-Trumbull, Dylan Creutzmann and Tristan Meyer, both of Trumbull, sold Christmas wreaths in front of the Monroe Volunteer Fire Department’s firehouse, at the corner of Shelton and Moose Hill roads.
“This is our second weekend,” said Ben Meyer, Tristan’s father. “We were out last weekend as well. This is one of our biggest fundraisers. By doing this, we don’t have to sell popcorn. This is money we can use to support the troop.”
Troop 203 has around 20 Boy Scouts.
“They go camping every month, including through the winter,” Meyer said, adding proceeds from the wreath sale can be used for cooking supplies and other gear.
Boy Scouts always need new camping supplies, because each scout has to do things for themselves.
“Troop 203 really appreciates and feels fortunate for the support of our friends and neighbors in the community for helping these boys grow into responsible men,” Meyer said of those who bought wreaths.
While the wreath sale was going on, a section of Route 110 had orange cones up to protect Monroe volunteer firefighters, as they held their annual boot drive.
Drivers generously donated to the MVFD last weekend and Saturday.
Storytime with Santa
Inside Harmony Grange, 103 Hurd Ave., Santa Claus sat in a wooden rocking chair by a Christmas tree as groups of young children gathered around him for readings of “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” throughout the day.
Santa was played by Ted Koziol of Woodbridge.
During one session, he read to Lindsay Kinahan, 7, of Monroe, and siblings Aaron, 7, Brianna, 7, and Cora Andres, 4, of Monroe.
St. Peter’s Grace Episcopal Church, 175 Old Tannery Road, held its annual Holly Fair with vendors, raffles for items from Seven Maples Gift and Garden, 84 Main St., and sold sweets in the lower level.
At one table, Nicolette Berlan, of Monroe, painted a blue and white snowflake on six-year-old Kenna Buck’s cheek. Buck, of Southbury, came to the fair with her mother.
Pots of poinsettias covered a long table and a row of tables had many varieties of cookies, such as peanut butter, chocolate krinkles and anisette.
Among the vendors, Tamra French of Guardians Farm in Southbury sold items like goat milk lotions, honey, beeswax lip balm, bags of coffee and varieties of goat milk soaps.
Leah Mitula, the proprietor of Denur Crafts: Kenyan Jewelry and other Handcrafted Items, sold her unique wares, which included wind chimes, colorful elephant figurines made of soapstone, zebras made from carved wood, and colorful animal figures made from flip flops.
A basket contained angels crafted from soapstone and another had a colorful assortment of friendship bracelets, among the many pieces of jewelry on display.
Everything was handmade by a women’s collective in Kenya using raw and recycled materials.
Many parents in Kenya cannot afford education costs for their children. Founded in 1994, the collective uses 40 percent of its proceeds for children’s education, 20 percent to provide an income for its members and 40 percent is reinvested in the business.
Mutula lives in Kenya for four months a year with the other eight months in East Haven.
“I was a vendor for the Apple Festival and they invited me back for this,” she said of the relationship she formed with St. Peter’s.
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