A memorable Christmas party
Tri-Con Gentle Giants host annual holiday bash
The energy was contagious at the TriCon Gentle Giants Special Olympics Christmas social event.
Dozens of athletes, family members, town leaders and volunteers from the organization were at the Bay Robertsl Lions Club last Thursday for the annual dinner and dance, a highlight for many.
But what started out as a calm dinner with some socializing turned into a celebration with athletes dancing up a storm and meeting the big man in red himself.
But the night was more than a party. It was a night to recognize the athletes for everything they’ve done this past year. Many competed at sporting events, including swim meets, track and field competitions, bowling and snowshoeing events.
Through fundraising efforts, $31,000 was raised this year to support those activites. The club offers an incentive to those who raise money, and those athletes received their incentives Thursday in front of the crowd of some 200 people.
For every $250 raised, each athlete received $25. Many of the athletes received a cheque from Gina Bishop, the club’s coordinator.
Most of the recipients cheered and raised their hands in celebration. But one had more of a reason to celebrate.
Gary Bishop raised over $3,000 for the Gentle Giants. He received $300 for his hard work.
For organizations like the Special Olympics, relying on others is essential to its success. The Gentle Giants are no exception. And thanks to several donations made at the Christmas party, the group is excited to have the support.
The Bay Roberts Lions Club were the first to present, making a donation of $400 to cover the cost of the meals. The CBN Legendary Car Club Show and Shine event presented Bishop with a cheque for $1,500, and the Carbonear chapter of the Knights of Columbus presented to Bishop with a cheque for over $4,700.
A large applause followed every presentation, and gratitude was given from all athletes in the form of cheers.
Christmas tunes like Snoopy’s Christmas were popular for dancing, but a favourite that night was “The Mummers’ Song.” Half a dozen mummers arrived around 7:30 p.m. and danced along with the athletes.
After a few more songs, it was time for the grand finale — Santa’s visit.
Each athlete was invited up one by one to chat with Santa, get some photos and get a present. Treats were also provided by the Lions Club.
At the end of the night, there were nothing but smiling faces and full bellies. And the club can’t wait to do it again next year.
Mary Ellen Murphy dances with a mummer at the annual Tri-Con Gentle Giants Special Olympics party Thursday, Dec. 10 at the Bay Roberts Lions Club.
Special Olympian Tyler Oliver decided to greet Santa Claus with a handshake before accepting his gift at the Bay Roberts Lions Club.
Santa got a nice surprise from Melanie Hyde who planted a kiss on him after receiving her Christmas gift at the Special Olympics Christmas party.