Cranston Chatter


Toys for Tots at Thirsty Beaver

Ward 4 Councilman Ed Brady and Jacob Belt will host their fifth annual Toy Drive benefiting The Rhode Island Dream Center and The US Marines for Tots for Tots on Tuesday, Dec. 4. The community is welcome to attend and bring an unwrapped toy or toys and enjoy a festive night at The Thirsty Beaver Hometown Pub and Grub, located at 288 Atwood Ave., from 6 to 10 p.m.  Last year they collected approximately 5,000 toys in one evening.

There will be a special visit from Mrs. Claus (be sure to bring your camera) and Marines in their dress blues.

“We all enjoy our good times in life but we all also go through some bad times,’ said Brady. “For me it was climbing and fighting through those bad times that really made me appreciate the good times and I’ll never forget the people that helped me in my families time of need. I have been fortunate to have a great family and support system growing up but like many families we often lived paycheck to paycheck.”

“No matter what we were always taught to help others when we have the ability to do so and I’m very fortunate to have so many blessings in life today. Helping others I have found to be addicting and it’s truly amazing what a difference we can make in a someone’s life by making one small kind gesture and that’s what honestly makes me happy,” said Brady.

Brady also thanked members of the Host Committee which include Justin Erickson, Don Parsons and Anytime Realty, David Paolo and G Media Studios, Rob Grieco and Grieco Automotive, Dan Ashworth and NES Security, Dan Gruslin and Allstate Lock, Lupe Aguilar and Rhody Foody, Cranston Middle School Athletic Director Justin Erickson, Cranston Council President Mike Farina, Councilman Chris Paplauskas, Zach Levesque and Northpointe Bank PVD, Brian Cipolla and Reflections by National Gold Eric Burns and Burns Roofing, David Dimao and The Cranston West Alumni Association, The Corso’s and Maplewood Landscaping, The Body Rock Team, Brian Crum and Gentry Moving and The Cranston/East Greenwich Co-op Thunderbirds.

In lieu of a toy donation, they will also be accepting monetary donations at the door to purchase toys.

Annual Christmas Tree Lighting

Mayor Allan Fung invites you to attend the Annual Christmas Tree Lighting on Dec. 4 beginning at 6 p.m. with a musical performance, including BASICS Holiday Glee Club, followed by the 6:45 p.m. Tree Lighting. Santa arrives at 6:50 p.m. by fire truck and all are encouraged to bring your camera. Free parking available behind City Hall.

Historical Holidays

All are invited to the Christmas Open Houses at the 1860's Governor Sprague Mansion and the 1770’s Joy Homestead in Cranston on Sunday, Dec. 2 from 1 to 4 p.m.

At the Sprague Mansion at 1331 Cranston Street, guests will enjoy holiday decorations and music from the Victorian era along with cookies and the famous Sprague Punch and traditional Wassail. Andrew Kaplan, Rhode Island pianist, will perform musical selections on the mansion’s rare 1800's Concerta D Grand Steinway, and members of the Pawtuxet Rangers will make a special visit.  The Western Cranston Garden Club decorates the Mansion in a spirited Victorian-theme each year.

At the Joy Homestead at 156 Scituate Ave., guests will be welcomed by Colonial-dressed hosts.  Enjoy tea and cookies next to the homestead fireplace. The annual open houses are hosted by the non-profit Cranston Historical Society which manages both museums.  There is no charge for admission, but donations for the ongoing preservation of these properties will be welcomed.

For more information please call Mary Mierka at 944-9226.

Gingerbread House Decorating Contest coming soon

Artists’ Exchange has announced that the 14th annual Gingerbread House Decorating Contest will be held Saturday, Dec. 1 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Artists’ Exchange, located at 50 Rolfe Square in Cranston. There will be 20% off Class Registrations, Tasty Treats, Grab Bags, Free Face Painting, Raffles, Holiday Photo Stations, Artisan Craft Sales and Free Christmas Carol Previews.

The cost is $15 at the door. How does it work? Participants start with a simple graham cracker construction and craft it into a work of art. There are heaping supplies of frosting, cereal, pretzels and, of course, an array of colorful candy to decorate your dream candy home. And with no age limit, everyone is invited to join in on the fun.

Participants can take their houses home that day, they are invited to submit their creations for judging in their corresponding age category. Families can also opt to work on a house together and be judged in a separate family category. This year there will be a special guest appearance from Santa Claus himself to help judge some of the entries. Houses entering the contest will be photographed and the winners will be announced online later that week.

Also included in the weekend’s festivities will be holiday grab bags, raffles, face painting, holiday photo booths and artwork from students and artist residents on display and for sale. For more information, contact the Artists’ Exchange at 401-490-9475.

RI Women’s Expo this weekend

The Rhode Island Women's Expo will be at the Crowne Plaza, Warwick on Nov 25 and it's bigger and better than ever! Over 80 local artisans and businesses to shop with and, pamper you along with, Main Stage Fashion Show and, free seminars in a fun and festive atmosphere. Vendors will offer exclusive show specials that you won't find anywhere else. Get your holiday shopping done in one location and, pick up some great gifts for yourself. Paid ticket holders receive free goodie bag upon arrival. $12 in advance purchased at You may also pay at the door.

Client Choice Food Bank now available at CCAP

CCAP’s (Comprehensive Community Action, Inc.) food bank is now a client choice food bank! What is a Client Choice Food Bank? A client choice food bank allows clients to select their food instead of receiving a pre-packed or standard bag of groceries. They are not given items they have already, do not like, or cannot eat for health or personal reasons.

Why give clients a choice? Imagine your family needs food. Your kitchen has some items but not enough to make meals for the next few days. You need to visit a food pantry. When you go to the food pantry, you are handed a pre-packed or standard bag with food you already have at home. There are also some items your family does not like. You're not sure what to do with the food. If you had been able to choose the foods you need and like, your family could have enjoyed a well-rounded, nutritious meal.

Every month, the CCAP Food Bank serves over 800 families. They need your help. They would like for you to join in lending a helping hand by hosting a CCAP food drive in your church, work place, service group, school or community.

For more information about CCAP and how you can “lend a helping hand” go to our website, or contact Joanne Gregory, Vice President of Social Services at 562-8333.  

RI Author’s Expo

The Rhode Island Author Expo returns to Rhodes on the Pawtuxet for its 6th year. Meet hundreds of local authors from Association of Rhode Island Authors (ARIA)! Free parking, admission and writing panels. Get pictures taken with Santa Claus! Enter one of our many raffle drawings! Remember signed books make great holiday gifts! The Expo will be held on Dec. 1 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Fez-tival of Trees this weekend

The RI Shriners will host their Fez-tival of Trees on Nov. 24 through Nov. 25 at The Imperial Room and Scottish Rite buildings at One Rhodes Place, Cranston. The Fez-tival will be held both days from 10 a.m. through 5 p.m. Take a photo with Santa (free and bring your camera), visit the beautiful tree and wreath area, and enter raffles to win the amazing displays. Get your holiday shopping done at our Vendor and Crafters’ Marketplace, enjoy the sounds of the Season with strolling musicians and carolers, bring the children for lots of activities, enjoy a seasonal beverage, and have a bite to eat in Mrs. Claus’s Café (GF, Vegetarian, & Family-friendly Options!). The theme this year is “Joy to the World,” featuring a “Christmas around the World” exhibit. A suggested donation of $2 for adults would be welcomed at the door and all proceeds to benefit The Rhode Island Shriners.

Knightsville Gazebo Christmas Tree Lighting

Hosted by Councilman Chris Paplauskas, the 4th annual Knightsville Gazebo Christmas Tree Lighting at the Gazebo along with the St. Mary’s Feast Society and St. Mary’s School Chorus on Dec. 2, beginning at 4 p.m. This year’s celebration will have Christmas carols, hot chocolate and even a special visit from Santa Claus! Music by BASICS Holiday Glee and St. Mary’s School Chorus. Be sure to bring your camera! There will be food, hot chocolate and fun for the entire family. Food sponsored by Lou Umberto’s and 39 West.

Adopt-a-Family Program

Once again, the annual "CCAP Adopt-a-Family Program" is being organized. Although reports say that the economy has improved, CCAP is still seeing very fragile communities, and families who continue to struggle. The "Adopt-a-Family Program" helps hundreds of local families during the holiday and your commitment to this project would be greatly appreciated. CCAP makes it easy for you to extend your kindness and generosity to the families in need in our community by helping in two ways: you can adopt a family and we can provide you with their wish list; or, you can make a monetary donation.  A donation of $300 will adopt an entire family. Your gift, large or small, can make a difference for a joyous holiday for a family in need. All donations are due by Dec. 14 at CCAP Offices located at 311 Doric Ave. For more information, please contact Joanne Gregory at 562-8333 or

Pet Photos with Santa, Frosty or Rudolph

On Dec. 2, Pet Supplies Plus in Garden City Center, will host their Annual Pet Photos with Santa, Frosty and or Rudolph from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. All proceeds will benefit A.D.O.P.T. (Pets Are People Too). Photography by Gene Hutnak Photography will be available with family and/or pets for $20 for two different poses with the 1 character. You can reproduce the photos and Porcelain Snowflake Photo Ornaments will also be available for purchase. A.D.O.P.T. works along with meeting the needs of animals and the Cranston Animal Shelter. For more information, call 826-0320 or email

At the Senior Center

The Michael A. Traficante Enrichment Center, located at 1070 Cranston St., will offer the following programs and activities:

Medication Mistakes & How to Avoid Them entitled “Drug Related Problems & Older Adults” will be the topic on Nov. 27 at 10 a.m. and will be presented by Leah Andrade, URI College of Nursing. We all know how expensive healthcare costs can be, especially for seniors. But how much could it cost if we aren’t taking them correctly? At this presentation we will hear about the importance of taking medication the right way in order to get the maximum benefit from our prescriptions while keeping us safe.

Shopping on a Budget will be presented on Nov. 28 at 10 a.m. featuring Patrice Amore, Nutritionist, who will be the guest speaker. Healthy eating can be affordable even when food prices keep on rising.  Join us for an informative class on how to food shop on a budget and still eat healthy.

2018 Holiday Party will be held on Dec. 7 at 11:30 a.m. at the Imperial Room, located at One Rhodes Place, Cranston. Mayor Allan W. Fung and the Staff of the Cranston Enrichment Center invite you to the 2018 Holiday Party.  Tickets are $20 per person includes dinner and entertainment.  Entertainment provided by Ken Marrocco. Stop by the Senior Center to purchase your tickets now. Space is limited.

Exercise Programs at the Center - The secret to feeling better and living longer…It’s called staying active! Come bring a friend and try one of our many exercise classes. You choose what works for you! For more information call 780-6000. Aerobics Classes; Tai Chi; Yoga; Making Fitness Easy; Zumba Gold; Bone Builders of RI; Chair Yoga; Chair Exercises; Ballroom Dancing and Line Dancing.

More holiday spirit in Garden City Center

Join in with the traditional Breakfast with Santa at the Newport Creamery on Dec. 2 from 8:30 to 11 a.m. On Dec. 9, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. will be Supper with Santa at Anthony’s Cold Fire Pizza. No reservations are required at either event and please be sure to bring your own camera. Their Holiday Strolls will be held on Dec. 7 and Dec. 8 from 6 to 8 p.m. when you can enjoy festive shopping along with ice carving, strolling carolers and Santa Claus.

St. Mary School Christmas Boutique

A Christmas Boutique will be held on Dec. 2 at St. Mary’s Parish Center on Vallone Rd. from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Shop till you drop with more than 40 crafters and vendors. There will also be a food court with homemade pizza, calzones and more. In addition, raffles will be held and there will be a Children’s Room with activities and games.

Holiday Craft Fair

On Dec. 1, Oak Lawn Community Baptist Church, located at 229 Wilbur Ave. will host a Holiday Craft Fair and Luncheon from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. with a Fireside Luncheon, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Also come for: Homemade baked goods for sale, Christmas Room - treasures at great prices and Kids’ Holiday Design n’ Buy Studio (Proceeds to Children’s Mission). For more information, or to reserve a table (space is limited), call Laura at 439-1776, or email

Did You Know?

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is regarded by many as the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. While not a federal holiday, several states observe the day after Thanksgiving as a holiday, which means many state and school employees have the day off. Therefore, the number of potential shoppers greatly increases. In fact, since 2005, Black Friday has been the busiest shopping day of the year. With retailers extending their hours and deals every year, the crowds and chaos show no signs of decreasing. (Source: Black Friday Fun Facts)

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