Cel­e­brat­ing with Santa

The Gananoque Reporter - - FRONT PAGE - LOR­RAINE PAYETTE For Post­media Net­work

The spe­cial peo­ple of the Thou­sand Is­lands gath­ered at the Gananoque Le­gion to cel­e­brate the hol­i­days at the best Christ­mas party around.

“The Spe­cial Peo­ple’s Christ­mas Party has been go­ing on for over 50 years,” said Tammy Ted­ford, or­ga­nizer of the event. “My fa­therin-law, Wilmer Ted­ford, and John Bray from Bray Rib­bon started this be­cause there was a need for it for both chil­dren and adults with spe­cial needs.

“These folks look for­ward to it. They don’t get an op­por­tu­nity to have friends drive to their houses and say, ‘Jump in the car, we’re go­ing to the movies.’ They just don’t have that, so this is im­por­tant to them ev­ery sin­gle year.”

The event is en­tirely non­profit. Ev­ery year around Septem­ber, Ted­ford and her staff start com­ing up with cre­ative ideas to raise money and tomake every­thing hap­pen. This year tried a tal­ent show – 1,000 Is­lands Got Tal­ent. Ted­ford was over­whelmed with the re­sponse.

Fif­teen en­ter­tain­ers played to a stand­ing room only au­di­ence at the Branch 92 Royal Cana­dian Le­gion on Satur­day, Septem­ber 22. Although com­pet­ing for prizes, they also helped raise funds for the Spe­cial Peo­ple’s Christ­mas Party.

“The evening was amaz­ing,” said Ted­ford. “So many won­der­ful peo­ple – we couldn’t be­lieve how great every­thing was.

“The Gananoque Le­gion do­nates the hall to us, and we usu­ally try to do it the last Sun­day of Novem­ber. There are some won­der­ful folks in charge of the food. They gather all of the food to­gether and have folks who do­nate money for it, so that’s all free for us. And the lovely ladies in the kitchen do­nate their time and cook every­thing.”

The evening was filled with the best qual­ity mu­sic and dance, pro­vided by artists of all ages. Per­form­ers in­cluded Hay­ley and Kayla, Ron Eldridge, Cora and Vi­o­let Steven­son, Liam Cousino, Deb­bie Lloyd, Ruby Tur­cotte, Is­abel Hig­gins, the Perry Girls (Izzy and Maddy), Ava Chubb, Heather O’Reilly, Sarah Per­rin, KeLauna Doyle, Hay­ley Pinkney, Alastair Hud­son, and Grace Bowry.

“We want to thank ev­ery­one so very, very much for all of their help,” said Ted­ford. “With­out your help, we could never make any of this hap­pen – not 1,000 Is­lands Got Tal­ent, and cer­tainly not the Spe­cial Peo­ple’s Christ­mas Party. The love in this com­mu­nity is amaz­ing, and it’s what keeps us go­ing. Thank you so­much, and we’ll look for­ward to see­ing you next year. Who knows what other amaz­ing tal­ented peo­ple are out there just wait­ing to be dis­cov­ered?”

As a spe­cial treat for the party, com­pe­ti­tion win­ners the Perry Girls came out to en­ter­tain. They per­formed sev­eral great songs be­fore turn­ing the evening over to DJ Paul Todd of Di­a­mond Pro­duc­tions. Ev­ery­one got up to dance and the fun just con­tin­ued on.

“I can’t say thank you enough to all the won­der­ful peo­ple who make this all pos­si­ble,” said Ted­ford. “Fromthe kitchen staff to the vol­un­teers to the great acts from 1,000 Is­lands Got Tal­ent, we could never do it with­out you. Thank you so very, very­much.”

LOR­RAINE PAYETTE/ FOR POST­MEDIA NET­WORK

Tammy Ted­ford (mid­dle row, sec­ond from right) with some of her crew of vol­un­teers at the Spe­cial Peo­ple’s Christ­mas Party held in Gananoque on Novem­ber 25.

FOR POST­MEDIA NET­WORK LOR­RAINE PAYETTE/

Tammy Ted­ford (mid­dle row, sec­ond from right) with some of her crew of vol­un­teers at the Spe­cial Peo­ple’s Christ­mas Party held in Gananoque on Novem­ber 25.

Hav­ing fun with the ‘Hokey Pokey’ at the Spe­cial Peo­ple’s Christ­mas Party held in Gananoque on Novem­ber 25.

Maeve (8) and Kyla (4) en­joyed danc­ing at the Spe­cial Peo­ple’s Christ­mas Party held in Gananoque on Novem­ber 25.

Roland and his pal Cassie Lyn­d­say at the Spe­cial Peo­ple’s Christ­mas Party held in Gananoque on Novem­ber 25.

Ev­ery­one had a great time with the photo booth at the Spe­cial Peo­ple’s Christ­mas Party held in Gananoque on Novem­ber 25.

As­tra the Rein­deer (Cassie Wat­ters) came out to vol­un­teer at the Spe­cial Peo­ple’s Christ­mas Party held in Gananoque on Novem­ber 25.

Heather was de­lighted to get a gift from Santa at the Spe­cial Peo­ple’s Christ­mas Party held in Gananoque on Novem­ber 25

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