It was estimated that over 350 people were on hand for the pre-Christmas festivities.
With a few weeks still ahead before Christmas Day, the Bristol Fire Department’s Ladies Auxiilairy (and others), led by Jennifer Oliveira Mancieri, made sure everyone was in the true spirit of the moment during Saturday night’s 8th annual Kickoff to Christmas Community Aid Drive at Jacky’s Galaxie.
“It had been awhile since we were able to come back here to Jacky’s after COVID, but tonight was spectacular,” said Mancieri, whose penchant for helping others hasn’t gone unnoticed in her native community. “Wow, what a night.”
Youngsters and oldsters alike were ecstatic to see Santa (Bristol’s own Michael Rielly) when he rolled into the Jacky’s Galaxie driveway aboard the Dreadnaught’s Ladder Truck shortly after 5 p.m. Kids were anxious to get a good look at their Christmas hero as he got closer for some handshakes. It was a scene worth cherishing.
It was estimated that over 350 people were on hand for the pre-Christmas festivities, which included face painting with Debbie Salamon and balloon characters from Ceil, entertainment by Jon Tyler, and some great holiday songs by the Bristol Theatre Co. Naturally, Santa enjoyed a photo session sitting with youngsters (and some parents) during the course of the evening.
“The night was very much filled with love for our community members in need,” said Mancieri. “To see the smiles, laughter, and pure joy on the children’s faces made all the months of planning the event worth it.”
Mancieri thanked a number of people for making this event such a great success, including the Ladies Auxiliary, the Bristol Fire Dept., the traffic detail for their efforts, and the Bristol Police Dept. Also, Johnson’s Roadside Market for their donation of delicious pies.
“They all played an important role in the success of this event,” she noted, “as did Val of Jacky’s Galaxie and his entire staff for letting us bring back this event where it belongs.”
“Most importantly, the Rhode Island Nationals Baseball Club helped collect toys outside, while multiple CCD children as well as department members’ children volunteered in different aspects throughout the night,” she added.
The Ladies Auxiliary expressed their thanks and appreciation to everyone who made this event so successful.
“We are a small group of hard-working individuals with families ourselves who want to make a difference in our community,” said Mancieri. ”With their help, hundreds of struggling families throughout the years have been able to provide gifts to their children. As our event grows each year, so do the list of families in need, so we are grateful for each and every one of you.”