Com­mu­nity comes alive for ‘Sea­son Opener’

Stanstead Journal - - NEWS - Vic­to­ria Vanier Stanstead

Cold and crisp win­try winds didn’t stop peo­ple from Stanstead and be­yond from tak­ing part in the Christ­mas ac­tiv­i­ties that were held in the Rock Is­land sec­tor of Stanstead, last Satur­day.

In the morn­ing, the well-dec­o­rated Place Del Monty soon filled up with Christ­mas shop­pers look­ing for hand­made gifts at Stanstead’s Christ­mas Mar­ket where over twenty ar­ti­sans, spe­cialty food producers and bak­ers were sell­ing their wares. Sit­u­ated in the for­mer Ho­tel Del Monty which op­er­ated for decades, some shop­pers rem­i­nisced while they looked for that ‘spe­cial some­thing’. “The last time we were here must have been at least twenty years ago,” said Gisele and Craig Grieve, of Stanstead, as they stood on the old dance floor. “There was a bar up­stairs and a Chi­nese food restau­rant. There were re­ally good bands that played here back then, and the Amer­i­cans would of­ten come up. When our kids got older they used to come here, too. This is a great build­ing and the orig­i­nal fridges are even still there! It’s got po­ten­tial,” added Mr. Grieve.

Chil­dren had fun at the mar­ket, some get­ting their faces painted upon en­ter­ing by Bob­bie Du­mas and her helper, Han­nah Wal­lace. Af­ter lunch, Santa and Mrs. Claus vis­ited the Christ­mas Mar­ket where they gave out good­ies, hot choco­late and gifts to the chil­dren who were lined up to sit on Santa’s lap, all to the live mu­sic of lo­cal favourite, Mike Goudreau.

Across the street from Place Del Monty, the Moose Café did a roar­ing busi­ness warm­ing peo­ple up with hot bev­er­ages and de­li­cious food pre­pared by the Quivit bak­ery, from Water­ville. Dur­ing the lunch hour, Lise Flan­ders en­ter­tained ev­ery­one with Christ­mas songs played on an old up­right pi­ano, with peo­ple from the au­di­ence tak­ing turns singing with her. Af­ter one gen­tle­man from the au­di­ence got up and sang “Span­ish Eyes” beau­ti­fully with Mrs. Flan­ders, Ron­ald Good­sell quipped from the au­di­ence: “Take it easy Marc, or we’ll lose all of our women!” Visi­tors to the Moose Café also en­joyed pi­ano mu­sic as per­formed by two Stanstead Col­lege stu­dents, Ben­jamin Smith and Vikki Lui.

“We’d like to thank Kim Pran­g­ley for do­ing all the dec­o­rat­ing at the Moose Café, Richard Ab­bott and his son for mak­ing our Moose Cross­ing sign and the small moose, and Mar­cel Hauben, Eva Juul and Gabriel Safdie for the use of their build­ings for the mar­ket,” said one of the event’s or­ga­niz­ers, Bev­erly Good­sell.

Across from Steve’s Pizze­ria, where ev­ery­one’s bill was dis­counted by 10% and hot ap­ple cider was given away, peo­ple were go­ing in and out of Granit-Cen­tral all day where train en­thu­si­asts from the Sher­brooke Club had the minia­ture trains up and run­ning for the visi­tors. The Fleurs et Pas­sion flower shop and the Porte Ou­verte an­tique and col­lectible shop wel­comed visi­tors all day as did the Bou­tique Midgar­den where de­li­cious rice pud­ding was be­ing given away by the owner of a new Latin Amer­i­can restau­rant that will be open­ing, in Stanstead, in March.

Af­ter the re­port­edly im­pres­sive and well-at­tended Chil­dren’s Christ­mas show at the Notre Dame de la Merci Church and the Christ­mas Cookie dec­o­rat­ing at the Haskell Li­brary, Place Henry Seth Tay­lor be­gan to fill up with a crowd to wit­ness the inau­gu­ra­tion of the park’s new benches and the spe­cial pre­sen­ta­tion of the Golden Book of sig­na­tures to Dr. Gilles Bouchard. “Dr. Bouchard was re­ally happy. He thanked his wife, Made­line, and spoke about how she sup­ported him when he was go­ing to school, and about all the hard times that they had at the be­gin­ning. It was a good story for all the chil­dren to hear,” ex­plained Marise Trepanier, Stanstead’s recre­ation co­or­di­na­tor.

Af­ter the light­ing of the town Christ­mas tree, those who weren’t too frozen to move headed over to the Live Na­tiv­ity scene at the Stanstead South United Church. There, Rev­erend Lise Kuzmin­ska told the story of Christ­mas, in English and French, to a cap­ti­vated au­di­ence of chil­dren. “When Rev­erend Kuzmin­ska got to the part of Je­sus’ birth and said there was a big celebration, Philip Ruf’s don­key be­gan honk­ing and honk­ing,” said Ms. Trepanier. “If we have a Live Na­tiv­ity next year we’ll prob­a­bly do it ear­lier and more down­town.”

The newly opened Ter­rasse Duf­ferin Restau­rant was full for their tur­key sup­per spe­cial af­ter the af­ter­noon celebration. Even Santa at­tended that one, ready for a good meal af­ter a big day!

Some of the or­ga­niz­ers of last Satur­day’s Christ­mas hap­pen­ing in Stanstead were (l. to r.): Mar­cel Hauben, Eva Juul, Marthe Char­ron, Mrs. Claus, San­dra Har­ri­son, Santa Claus, Huguette Gre­nier, He­lene Hamel and Bev­erly Good­sell.

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