MERIDEN — The rainy day didn’t stop the community from gathering on Main Street in South Meriden for the 24th annual Christmas in the Village.
The event, organized by South Meriden Festival Inc., took place on Saturday afternoon from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. As promised, the event happened rain or shin.
The event started off with a parade and after that the community was able to enjoy hot chocolate, popcorn, cookies, crafts, candle dipping, live entertainment and more.
Ed Haberli has been organizing the event for all 24 years. The event was also organized by JoAnne Grabinski and April Ouellette. “We all have our own part in organizing but we always have our meeting at Tom’s Place since April is the owner,” Haberli said.
“We spent a lot of time putting this event together. We know people have to brave the weather in order to be here,” Grabinski said.
Haberli calculated attendence was down by about 2,000 people this year likely due to the rain or possibly other factors.
Jessica Brisk-Cross has been coming to the celebration since it started. “It’s been a tradition to come,” she said. “It seems that less people are here though. I remember it used to be so crowded. I’m assuming it’s because of the rain or maybe inflation.”
Different organizations and businesses from the community were present at the event such as Ion Bank and Girls Inc. The Meriden Health and Human Services Department handed out masks, hand sanitizer, and tissue packs.
A long line formed for free hot dogs which were served to the community by Our Lady Queen of Angels Parish. “We participate every year,” said Tom Raffile, member of both the parish and committee for South Meriden Festivals. “Last year, we gave out around 2,000 hot dogs.”
Chris Beale, Deb McConnell, and Chris Lee from New England Capital Financial Advisors were serving roasted chestnuts. “We do this every year for the community,” Beale said. “It’s such a great event for the community.”
Ruth Jaime just moved to Meriden and lived down the street from the event. She came with her two sons. “It’s free and nice to see what’s happening in the community,” she said.
Hanover Craft Fair
The Hanover craft fair took place during Christmas in the Village. Local vendors participate in hopes to showcase their work to the community.
Melissa Gionfriddo, owner of Tesoro Artisan Gift Boutique & Gallery, was at the event. “I come every year and I always hope to meet new people,” she said. Gionfriddo just opened a store in Meriden which is located at 763 Hanover Road. Her shop was previously located in Middletown.
In addition to the vendors, the Hanover Elementary School Parent Teacher Organization organized a raffle. Kim Peed, president, and Nicole Jandreau, treasurer of the PTO, were in charge of the raffle. “There are gift baskets that each grade made and they have a theme,” Jandreau said. Winners of the raffle were announced after the event.