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Whats Up in Windsor by Tina Castelli

Kudos to Our Volunteers

Jan 5, 2018
by Tina Castelli

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The Volunteers behind Charlie Brown Christmas Tree Grove: This year marks the 9th year of the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree Grove, started in 2009 by local Windsor leaders Karen Alves and Michael Powell. The Grove expanded and evolved under their leadership for 6 years with annual profits going to the Windsor Educational Foundation. The 2 leaders worked tirelessly to build this wonderful community event and decided to retire in 2015, asking the Town of Windsor Parks and Recreation Department to help find a new group to take over the event.

Formed in 2012 People4Parks Windsor, aka, Windsor Parks Foundation was just ending their first successful project selling painted tiles and bricks to raise funds for the new Windsor Town Green playground, just completed this last summer. They were on the hunt for a new project and the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree Grove was a perfect fit. The new coordinators met with the Schulz Family, securing the rights to use the licensed name. For the first year the project was successfully coordinated by Board member Karen Getz, who was the perfect person to take on this new venture for the Foundation.

For the next 2 years the People4Parks Board has pulled together many volunteers from the community for work days to help with event set-up and take down. People4Parks operates with a small 6 member Board but each member works hard to make the event a success. Michael Brook, President, Tina Castelli, Vice-President, Leah Parker, Treasurer, Dannen Lee, Secretary, Warin Parker and Uriel Brena Directors. Along with these Board members the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree Grove Committee includes Windsor Town Green resident, Dennis Rutkowski, WHS Boosters Leaders, David & Sherri Kahn, TOW Analyst, Olivia Lemon, local retired Pharmacist, Roger Sprinkle who builds the wonderful Snoopy animation in the Center Gazebo, and Dave & Kathy Culley, owners of KC’s American Kitchen who sponsor and help run the Snow machines and snowfall nightly at 5:30 and 7:30 pm.

Dennis Rutkowski is an invaluable asset to the Grove. You may see him out there any time or day of the week working strengthening trees, watering trees, hanging banners and lights and doing repairs. This last Christmas Day Eve he invited all fire victims who wanted a place to celebrate around a Christmas Tree to come visit the grove from 5-8 pm. He supplied coffee, yummy hot chocolate and treats for visitors. Many came and shared their stories with new local community friends.

Dennis is a firefighter himself and works a flexible schedule that enables him to keep an eye on the Grove for wind damage and power outages. He runs the snow fall nightly at least once a week and was a leader in set-up and take down work days. A big thank you goes to Dennis Rutkowski!

David and Sherri Kahn not only are local volunteers themselves, but they have a connection to all the sports teams at the high school and are a big help in finding young, strong volunteers to help when the trees arrive off the truck, when it’s time to bring the barrels from the trailer storage to the Green and when it’s time to bring everything back. Thank you to David and Sherri and all the WHS Boosters and students.

A special thank you goes to the guys who work at the Town of Windsor Electrical Department. This is the 2nd year with their help we were able to avoid all power outages in the Grove. In past years outages were a big issue, keeping all 200 trees lit at the same time through all kinds of weather. Since then new custom power cords and a plan that spreads the power throughout the park has made the event a lighting spectacle, with more lighting features planned in the future.

The People4Parks would like to thank every member of the community who has come out to help make this great event happen and to all the event sponsors and those who adopted trees and decorated them so beautifully. The last snowfall at the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree Grove will be January 1st, 2018 at 7:30 pm. All trees are to be undecorated by Friday, January 5th and everything is packed away on the 6th. You can still sign up to volunteer at take down on Jan. 6 at www.people4parkswindsor.org

People4Parks will be introducing their next park project this Spring with proceeds from the Grove. If you are interested in getting involved with the Windsor People4Parks Board or the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree Grove contact them at people4parkswindsor@gmail.com Tree adoptions for next year open by Sept 15th, 2018.

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