Cranston Chatter

Posted 11/20/19

City’s Christmas Tree Lighting: Mayor Allan Fung invites members of the community to the city’s annual Christmas Tree Lighting, which will be held at City Hall, 869 Park Ave., on Tuesday, Dec. 3.

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Cranston Chatter


City’s Christmas Tree Lighting

Mayor Allan Fung invites members of the community to the city’s annual Christmas Tree Lighting, which will be held at City Hall, 869 Park Ave., on Tuesday, Dec. 3. The event begins at 6 p.m. with musical performances, followed by the tree lighting at 6:45 p.m. and Santa’s arrival at 6:50 p.m. There is no cost, and parking is available behind City Hall. For more information, visit

Santa to arrive in Garden City

Continuing a longstanding tradition, Santa will arrive at the Gazebo in Garden City Center on Saturday, Nov. 30, at 11 a.m. Visits with Santa are free and professional photos are available for purchase. The arrival event will be held until 1 p.m. and Santa will be in his cabin at Garden City every day through Dec. 24. For more information or to secure a fast pass, visit

Tree lighting in Knightsville

The fifth annual Knightsville Gazebo Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony, hosted by Ward 5 Councilman Christopher Paplauskas, will be held on Sunday, Dec. 1.

Festivities begin at 4 p.m. inside at the St. Mary’s Feast Society hall located across the street at 15 Phenix Ave., where people of all ages can enjoy cookie making and crafts.
The official tree lighting is scheduled for 5 p.m., rain, snow or shine, and will be followed by a visit from Santa Claus escorted by members of the Cranston Fire Department.

This neighborhood tradition has grown over the years and now includes Christmas carols from students at St. Mary’s School, free food offerings and hot chocolate from local establishments including Lou Umberto’s Italian Kitchen, the Thirsty Beaver and 39 West Restaurant & Lounge.

Paplauskas and loyal volunteers set up the lights and Christmas tree while the St. Mary’s Feast Society and Ladies Auxiliary help with entertainment and activities.

For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page, “Knightsville Gazebo Christmas tree lighting.”

Ward 3 tree lighting at Sprague Mansion

On Sunday, Dec. 1, the inaugural Ward 3 Holiday Tree Lighting ceremony will take place on the lawn of the Governor Sprague Mansion, located at 1351 Cranston St.

This free event is open to all denominations and is designed to celebrate the community and bring people together to welcome in the holiday season. The Bain Middle School Chorus will kick off the event at 4 p.m. with songs, followed by welcoming remarks from Ward 3 City Councilman John Donegan and the lighting of the tree at 4:30 p.m.

The tree lighting is being organized by the Cranston Historical Society, Donegan and Grace Swinski of the Cranston Family Center. Refreshments are being donated by the parent groups from Bain, Arlington, Gladstone and Stadium schools.

Other sponsors include Mike’s Tree Farm, Durfee’s Hardware, Falvey Linen, Webster Bank, Cranston YMCA, Washington Trust, the Cranston Health Equity Zone Initiative and OneCranston.

To learn more, visit the event’s Facebook page, “Holiday Tree Lighting.”

Fez-tival of Trees

The Rhode Island Shriners will present the sixth annual Fez-tival of Trees at Rhodes on the Pawtuxet in Cranston over the Thanksgiving weekend. Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 30, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 1. A suggested donation of $2 for adults is appreciated, and there is no charge for children.

The Fez-tival is a fun, family-friendly event that features an impressive display of trees and wreaths donated by local businesses and organizations, as well as music, complimentary visits with Santa, character appearances and plenty of free activities for children. In addition, more than 80 vendors and crafters will be available in the Holiday Marketplace, offering a variety of quality items for purchase. There will also be a large raffle with approximately 100 items up for grabs.

For more information, contact Hillary Williamson or Jenn Wheland at 467-7100.

Garden City Center Holiday Strolls

Garden City Center will host its annual Holiday Strolls on Friday, Dec. 6, and Saturday, Dec. 7, from 6-8 p.m. The festivities will include strolling carolers, ice carving and of course, Santa Claus. For more information, visit

Holidays in Pawtuxet Village

Enjoy the holiday season in Pawtuxet Village in the coming weeks with several community events.

It begins at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 30, with the decoration and placement of luminarias around the Christmas tree in Pawtuxet Park.

Events continue on Saturday, Dec. 7. A Holiday Stroll, part of the #BuyLocalRI campaign, will be held from noon to 6 p.m. Participating businesses in the village will offer special discounts, refreshments and music.

At 5 p.m., visitors are asked to bring canned goods or other nonperishable food items during a visit with Santa at the Pawtuxet Park Gazebo. There will also be a Christmas carol sing-along with the Pilgrim High School Alumni Chorale.
At 5:30 p.m., the luminarias will be lit around the tree. After a moment of silence, the tree will be lit up. Note: This is the lighting of the small tree close to the parkway and not the large tree next to the Gazebo.

For the tree lighting only, the rain date is Sunday, Dec. 8 at 5:30 p.m. For more information, visit

Thunderbolt Trivia Night

The Cranston High School East Music Department will host a Trivia Night on Friday, Nov. 22, at 6:30 p.m. at the Imperial Room, One Rhodes Plaza. Tickets cost $30 per person and include dinner, raffles and a silent auction. This is a 21-plus event, so no students are allowed. There is a limit of 200 seats. For more information, contact Krista Schmitz at or 440-4401.

East Cranston Speaks Out

The Cranston Health Equity Zone is a resident-driven initiative aimed at addressing the root causes of health disparities in the Arlington, Stadium and Laurel Hill neighborhoods, and its upcoming Speak Out event is designed to find out what aspects of health and health indicators the community would like to improve. Topics include food, housing, transportation, education, affordability, trauma and more.

The event will be held on Saturday, Nov. 23, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Arlington Elementary School, 155 Princess Ave., Cranston. There will be food, raffle prizes, childcare and activities for children. Spanish and Khmer language interpreters will be available. For more information, contact Kayland Arrington, initiative director, at 714-7004 or

Pet photos with Santa

Defenders of Animals will offer a chance for pets and their people to have pictures taken with Santa on Saturday, Nov. 23, from noon to 3 p.m. at Warwick Animal Hospital, located at 1950 Elmwood Ave., Warwick. Photos will be available at a cost of $10. Additionally, microchipping will be available for $25 and pet nail clipping will be offered for $10.

Library holiday hours

All Cranston Public Library locations will close at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 27, and will be closed on Thursday, Nov. 28, in observance of Thanksgiving.

Coat collection drive

A coat collection drive for Buy Nothing Day on Friday, Nov. 29, is underway. Last year, the drive collected more than 300 coats that were delivered to the State House for those less fortunate to pick up at no charge. Coats can be dropped off in plastic bags in the breezeway entrance of 46 Balsam Court in Cranston through Nov. 29 at 9 a.m.

Holiday Craft Fair and Luncheon

Oak Lawn Community Baptist Church, located at 229 Wilbur Ave. in Cranston, will host its Holiday Craft Fair and Luncheon on Saturday, Nov. 30, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. A fireside luncheon will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Start your holiday shopping and support local crafters, and also come for Christmas Treasures. For more information, or to reserve a table (space is limited), contact Laura at 439-1776 or

Smile Doll Bazaar

The Cranston Enrichment Center, located at 1070 Cranston St., will host a Smile Doll Bazaar on Thursday, Dec. 5, and Friday, Dec. 6, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. This is a perfect opportunity to purchase many handmade items from members of the senior community in Cranston. There will be afghans, scarf and hat sets, an Elephant table, Smile Dolls and much more. There will also be a 50/50 raffle and basket raffle every day from Dec. 2 to Dec. 6 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The drawing will be held Dec. 6 at 11:30 a.m. in the center’s lunchroom, and entrants do not need to be present to win.

Woodridge Church to honor local artist

On Saturday, Dec. 7, Woodridge Congregational United Church of Christ, 546 Budlong Road, will be hosting a special afternoon event honoring the work of Rhode Island artist Maxwell Mays. The evening will feature a lecture by longtime personal friend Bill Comeau and an opportunity to purchase prints of Mays’s work. The lecture will begin at 2 p.m., followed by an open house. For more information, contact Comeau at or 419-2848.

Warwick Center for the Arts Winter Sale

The Warwick Center for the Arts Winter Art Sale will be held from Saturday, Dec. 7, through Saturday, Dec. 14, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, at its location at 3259 Post Road in Warwick. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit

CCAP Adopt-a-Family and Giving Tree Programs

The Comprehensive Community Action Program is again organizing its annual Adopt-a-Family Program. Although reports say that the economy has improved, local families continue to struggle. The Adopt-a-Family Program helps hundreds of local families during the holidays.
CCAP makes it easy for members of the community to help families in need in two ways: adopting a family and being provided with their wish list, or making a monetary donation to support a family. A $300 gift will support an entire family, and any amount can make a difference.

All donations are due by Friday, Dec. 12, at CCAP’s location at 311 Doric Ave., Cranston, RI 02910. For more information, contact Joanne Gregory at 562-8333 or

Bolts Bazaar

For the third year, the Bolts Bazaar is returning for the holiday season at Cranston High School East, 899 Park Ave. This year’s event, being held on Saturday, Dec. 14, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., will feature more than 50 local vendors as well as raffles, children’s activities and more.

The event is free, and the first 50 guests will receive a free “swag bag” filled with samples, coupons and special offers from local businesses. There will also be a children’s area with activities such as face painting and holiday book reading, and children can be watched in this area while parents shop.

At noon, Santa will be strolling the event to greet guests of all ages. There will additionally be light refreshments and snacks available in the cafeteria.

All proceeds from the event will support Cranston East. For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page, “Bolts Bazaar.”

Pickleball schedule change

The Cranston Parks and Recreation Department is offering Pickleball at the Pastore Youth Center, located at 155 Gansett Ave. It will be held on Sundays from 4:30-7:30 p.m. starting Dec. 1 and running through March 21. Monday and Wednesday times of noon to 2:15 p.m. will remain unchanged through the winter.

The fee is $3 per person per day. The program is open to Cranston residents and nonresidents. For more information, visit the Parks and Recreation page on the city’s website,

Historical Society selling special holiday ornaments

The Cranston Historical Society is starting a new holiday tradition. Each year, it will be creating and selling a Christmas tree ornament celebrating a remarkable aspect of Cranston.
This year’s ornaments depict Sprague Mansion. Proceeds from the sale of the ornaments will support the society’s programs and preservation efforts.

To purchase a limited-edition ornament, visit or call the society at 944-9226.

Rotary Club food drive

In the spirit of giving, please consider sponsoring a Thanksgiving food basket for local Cranston families in need. The Cranston Rotary has set a goal of 100 baskets filled with a turkey, side dishes, milk and apple pie. Stop & Shop has partnered with the club for the drive.

For more information, visit The cost to sponsor a basket is $25. To donate, checks payable to “Rotary Club of Cranston” may be mailed to P.O. Box 3723, Cranston, RI 02910.

Library Association chosen as bag program beneficiary

The Cranston Public Library Association has been selected as a beneficiary of the Stop & Shop Community Bag Program for the month of November.

The program, which launched in May 2019, is a reusable bag program that facilitates community support with the goal to make a difference in the communities where shoppers live and work.

The Cranston Public Library Association was selected as the November beneficiary of the program by store leadership at the Stop & Shop located at 200 Atwood Ave. in Cranston. The Cranston Public Library Association will receive a $1 donation every time the $2.50 reusable Community Bag is purchased at this location during November, unless otherwise directed by the customer through the Giving Tag attached to the bag.

For more information on the Stop & Shop Community Bag Program, visit

Winter survival backpacks

This November, Rhode Island Dream Center will be celebrating 11 years of distributing fully equipped “winter survival” backpacks to homeless and low-income members of the Rhode Island community. The backpacks will be distributed on Sunday, Nov. 24, at the center’s annual Thanksgiving Dinner held at Praise Tabernacle Church, 330 Park Ave., Cranston.

Many members of the state’s homeless population must carry all of their belongings with them throughout the day until they are allowed to re-enter local shelters for the evening. The Dream Center’s goal is to purchase 350-400 quality, waterproof backpacks and fill them with essential such as winter hats, scarves, gloves, socks, hand warmers, shampoo, razors, combs, lotion, powder, deodorant, rain ponchos and other hygiene hygiene products.

The Dream Center is asking for help from the community in the form of donated items or monetary donations. For more information or to participate, email or visit

Cranston High School class of 1960 reunion

Cranston High School’s class of 1960 plans to hold its 60th reunion on Sept. 12, 2020, at the Cranston Country Club. The cost will be $50 per person. For more information, contact Joan Farmanian Fratterelli at 349-3922.

Toys and Tunes
Drop by Oak Lawn Branch Library, 230 Wilbur Ave., on Friday mornings from 10-11:30 a.m. this fall for Toys and Tunes, a play time program with music and stories. The program is open to ages 0-5 with a parent/caregiver. Registration is not required. For more information, visit

Cookbook Club at the library

The Cranston Public Library’s Cookbook Club is a new book club for adults with a tasty twist. In this club, participants will read a different cookbook each month and come together to share the tasty recipes that lie inside their pages.

For more information or to sign up, contact Corrie at 943-9080, ext. 129, or

Youth basketball program

Registration is open for the Saturday Morning Basketball Program, which runs Saturday mornings from Nov. 23 through March 14.
This is an instructional program designed to teach the fundamentals of basketball. It is not a league and no teams will be formed.

The program will be held at the following times and locations:

Pastore Youth Center: grades one and two, 9-10 a.m.; kindergarten through grade one, 10:30-11:45 a.m.

Western Hills Middle School: grades three through five, 9-10:30 a.m.; grades six through eight, 10:30 a.m. to noon.

Park View Middle School: grades three through five, 8-9:30 a.m.; grade six, 9:30-11 a.m.

The registration fee is $25 per child. Registration forms are available for download on the Parks and Recreation Department’s page on the city’s website, Forms may be returned to the department’s office at the Pastore Youth Center.

Delivery of library books

The Cranston Public Library will deliver any item that has a three-week loan period. Patrons never pay a late fee or fine because the library picks up all the materials within that three-week time frame.

Volunteers deliver books in regular or large print, as well as audiobooks, magazines, music CDs and documentary DVDs, to any homebound Cranston resident living in their own home. Due to concerns about chain of custody, the library is unable to deliver to nursing homes or assisted living facilities. To register or to become a volunteer driver, contact Karen McGrath at 781-6116 or

Caregiver volunteers needed

Volunteers are being sought to provide respite services for homebound seniors. Services include providing companionship, running errands and providing transportation to medical appointments.

If you are interested in becoming an RSVP caregiver volunteer, contact Karen at 780-6159 for an interview. Volunteers must be 55 years of age or older and a BCI check is required. A mileage reimbursement is provided to cover the cost to travel.

St. David’s hall rentals

St. David’s on-the-Hill Episcopal Church, located at 200 Meshanticut Valley Parkway in Cranston, offers affordable rates to rent its upper and lower halls for events of all kinds. For more information, visit or contact the church office Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., at 942-4368.

Family health services at CCAP

Tired of ineffective yet expensive medical care? Check out Family Health Services at the Comprehensive Community Action Program. CCAP offers affordable, 24/7, professional family health and dentistry services. The experienced staff includes physicians, nurse practitioners and other health care professionals who are caring, compassionate and highly skilled. New patients are welcome. For more information, call 384-6007.

Did you know?

The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621 over the course of a three-day harvest festival. It included 50 Pilgrims and 90 Wampanoag Indians. It is believed by historians that only five women were present.

Turkey wasn’t on the menu at the first Thanksgiving. Venison, duck, goose, oysters, lobster, eel and fish were likely served, alongside pumpkins and cranberries – but not pumpkin pie or cranberry sauce.

Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving a national holiday on Oct. 3, 1863. Sarah Joseph Hale, the woman who wrote “Mary Had A Little Lamb,” convinced Lincoln to make Thanksgiving a national holiday after writing letters for 17 years. (Source: Thanksgiving Fun Facts)

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