'Christmas in the Village' Draws Large Crowd

Residents from throughout the community filled downtown Plantsville Thursday evening as businesses, volunteer firefighters and the Parks and Recreation Department hosted 'Christmas in the Village.'

There were chestnuts roasting on an open fire, a horse drawn sleighs and even a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus.

It may not have been a winter wonderland, but downtown Plantsville was transformed into a holiday celebration Thursday evening as the merchants, organizations and the hosted their annual 'Christmas in the Village' celebration.

The event drew particpants from across town as more than 1,000 people had stopped at locations between and , where Santa Claus was making a special visit, by 7 p.m.

"This is a great opportunity to get in touch with a wide variety of people and just show the appreciation we have for the community," said Frank Palmieri, owner of , where children had an opportunity to sit and chat with Mrs. Claus. "It's for the kids and it's our way of saying thank you to all those who have supported us over the years."

Rob Ricciardi, who works at CMC Computers, said his daughter Sydney has enjoyed seeing Mrs. Claus during the past three years now and it has become a favorite stop each holiday season.

"It's nice to see the town host events like this. It brings people out, gives a sense of community," he said.

At the volunteer fire department, Engine Co. 2, an even longer line formed as children spoke about the toys they wanted and whether they've been good or bad this year. Even those who were shy found comfort in Santa Claus, who interacted with the kids in a way that made hundreds of parents smile.

Devin DiMartino, 6, said he was going to ask Santa Claus for an Air Swimmer this year. Air Swimmers are hydrogen filled remote control blimps shaped like either a shark or a blowfish, which fly through the air.

But it wasn't the visit with Santa or Mrs. Claus that was Devin's favorite part of the celebration. Across from the Plantsvile Town Green, where holiday lights helped brighten the evening, Fiath Living Church hosted a bonfire with live entertainment and chestnuts roasted on the fire by James Lami.

"Everyone likes watching fires. that's my favorite part," Devin said, causing his father Dwight DiMartino to smile.

Aside from the Engine Co. 2 visit from Santa, Faith Living was one of the most popular spots to be on Thursday night. Hundreds gathered around for the entertainment or just to warm back up by the flames.

Judah Thomas, worship pastor at Faith Living, said the church has hosted the traditional gathering for over 15 years.

"We really enjoy being able to do this. It gives us a chance to enjoy the fun side of Christmas and bring attention to the real reason behind the holiday, which is Jesus," Thomas said. "We are all here for the same thing; to share in the spirit of the season."


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