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City of Cranston 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.

Gingerbread House Decorating Contest

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.

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 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.

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

Menorah Lighting

The City of Cranston will host Rabbi Laufer from Chabad for the lighting of the Menorah on Dec. 6 at 5 p.m.

There will be singing, dancing, food and arts and crafts for children.

Bolts Bazaar

The Bolts Bazaar – Holiday Edition will be held on Dec. 8 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Cranston High School East. Produced by Jessica Moquin, this year’s bazaar has doubled in size. With more than 75 vendors, this event helps to raise funds for students at the high school who are unable to afford prom and other social events at the school. There will also be plenty of raffles, children’s activities and more. Admission is free of charge.

Pet Photos with Santa & Microchipping

On Dec. 9, there will be a day of pet photos with Santa for $10 donation and Micro-chipping for a $25 donation – at Warwick Animal Hospital, 1950 Elmwood Ave., to benefit Defenders of Animals. A combination of photos and microchipping will also be available for $35 per pet. The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“The Christmas to Remember”

Praise Tabernacle Church, located at 330 Park Ave., will be featuring their free “The Christmas to Remember” on Dec. 14 at 7 p.m.; Dec. 15 at 7 p.m.; Dec. 16 at 11 a.m.; Dec. 16 at 7 p.m. and a Sensory Friendly show on Dec. 15 at 2 p.m. The show will feature live music, animals, dance, drama and much more. Seating is on a first come first serve basis, come early.

Historical Holidays

All are invited to the Christmas Open Houses at the 1860s Governor Sprague Mansion and the 1770s 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 1800s 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.

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 and the Thirsty Beaver.

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 jgregory@comcap.org.

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 sage999cat@cox.net.

At the Senior Center

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

Diabetes Support Group – “Managing Diabetes During the Holidays” – will be held on Dec. 5 at 10 a.m. The program facilitators will be Pharmacist Mario Casinelli and Patrice Amore, Nutritionist. It can be tough to resist overeating and stressing out over the holidays.  It’s even tougher if you are dealing with diabetes. At this presentation you will be given some Holiday Survival Tips to help you get through the next month.

A musical entertainment luncheon will be held at the Senior Center on Dec. 18 at 11:30 a.m. with a suggested donation of $3 per person. A day to bring a friend and enjoy a delicious meal along with holiday music. Bud Pistachio will be there to entertain with his holiday songs and music. Make your reservations now by calling 401-780-6134.

Creative Stitchers will be held on Mondays from 9 to 11 a.m. Do you enjoy quilting, knitting or crocheting? Don’t stay home alone!  Come and join the Monday morning group. Time to socialize and at the same time enjoy doing what you love doing. Pat, their facilitator, is always available to help you through your project if there is a need.

2018 Holiday Party will be held at the Imperial Room at One Rhodes Place at 11:30 a.m. Mayor Allan Fung and the Staff of the Cranston Enrichment Center invite you to the 2018 Holiday Party.  Tickets are $20 per person and includes dinner and entertainment.  Entertainment provided by Ken Marrocco.  Stop by the Enrichment 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 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.

Santa’s Workshop - Shopping for Teens

This year, Michelle Lee Photography will be adopting teenagers for Christmas through CCAP; Rhode Island's Helping Hand at Lang’s Bowlarama, located at 225 Niantic Ave. in Cranston, on Dec. 8 from 9 a.m. to noon. This year they will be adopting teenagers for Christmas through CCAP.

With more than 40 vendors, there will be plenty of shopping opportunities for the special people on your holiday shopping list. Bring a toiletry and get your picture taken with Santa and his favorite elf Pee-wee.

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. to 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 at Oak Lawn Community Baptist Church

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 401-439-1776, or email scoops777@hotmail.com.

Inter-generational Art Exhibit at the Central Library

The Cranston Public Library will host an inter-generational art exhibit by students of School One and their adult collaborators in the James T. Giles Community Room exhibit space at Central Library. Dozens of students from different generations will participate in School One’s Inter-generational Art Exhibition at Cranston Public Library, which opens on Dec. 9 at 2 p.m.

“Aroha Philanthropies' generous grant supports our Inter-generational Arts Program which is designed for high school students and adults 55 and older who want to experiment with materials and express themselves through visual art,” states Diana Champa, Director of Literary Engagement. “This is truly a unique art experience, where older adults and younger students learn side-by-side.”

This art show is a collaboration between School One’s high school students and older adults in Rhode Island. Two classes, “Drawing Our Stories” and “En Plein Air: Landscape Painting,” will exhibit work made over the previous 10 weeks. The exhibit is open to the public through Dec. 29 with a special opening reception from 2 to 4 p.m. the first day; Dec. 9. The exhibition is a result of the creativity, experimentation and hard work of the students enrolled.

Did You Know?

The first artificial Christmas tree was made in Germany, fashioned out of goose feathers that were dyed green! (Source: December Fun Facts)

To submit your news from the community, e-mail Meri R. Kennedy at CranstonChatter@aol.com. Photos in .jpg format are accepted and news can range from community events, promotions, academic news and non-profit events. E-mail today and see your news in our column in the Cranston Herald. Please include a daytime telephone number in case we require any further information. Be sure to check out our website at www.cranstononline.com.

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