This year marked the 78th edition of this time-honored tradition, the oldest, continuous holiday party of its type in Bristol.
The Cup Defenders Children’s Christmas Party actually got its start in 1935, the same year the non-profit social club was founded at the corner of Wood and Catherine streets. Back then, the club was comprised mainly of men of Italian heritage, such as the late Orlando J. “Larney” Bisbano, an original founder who helped launch the children’s party.
Since 1948, the kids have gathered at the club’s present site at 230 Wood St.
Children, along with their parents and friends, began gathering early Sunday in anticipation of Santa’s (David Camara) arrival. They knew once he arrived by Engine 4, courtesy of the Bristol Fire Dept., it would only be a matter of time before they had a chance to sit down with him, one by one, to reveal their most personal Christmas gift wishes.
During the course of the afternoon, the children received special Christmas gifts, donated by the Cup Defenders Association. Refreshments, including pizza, homemade cupcakes, juice drinks, and bags of candy, were also distributed.
Highlighting the day’s event was the raffling off of six brand new bicycles, much to the delight of the subsequent winners.
“To see the smiles on these kids’ faces is what this Christmas party is all about,” said Pamela Camara, wife of club member David Camara, and a longtime club volunteer. “The joy of giving makes you feel so warm inside. Everyone associated with this club truly enjoys doing this for the children of Bristol each and every year.”