Snow flurries fell the night of December 10th, but inside the Gardiner Library it was “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs,” during the second annual Gardiner Association of Businesses (GAB) Trees of Giving Festival and Holiday Stroll. As part of the event, 15 area businesses decorated Christmas trees to represent their favorite children’s book themes. The Village Grill, creator of the winning tree, was awarded six free ads in The New Paltz Times, compliments of Ulster Publishing, for their tree based on the 1982 children’s book “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs,” which has recently been made into a movie.
This year’s event was expanded to include a Holiday Stroll; the “passports” of more than 30 families of “holiday revelers” were stamped as they checked in at a dozen stops throughout town. Refreshments and holiday snacks were served as participants shopped, admired holiday decorations and spread holiday cheer. Revelers then returned to the library with completed passports where they posed for portraits with Santa, contributed items for a local Toys for Tots drive, sipped eggnog, had a chance to win one of two “Gifts of GAB”—gift baskets valued at $1,300—and cast votes for the best tree by placing a new children’s book in a box beneath their favorite. In all, more than 150 books were donated as votes were cast for trees representing “Goodnight Moon,” “On the Night that You Were Born,” “Harold and the Purple Crayon,” “Alice in Wonderland,” and “Shoes,” among others. The donated books will be distributed among the Gardiner Library, area nursery schools, day care centers and needy families.
Congratulations to Diane Gleichenhaus who won the adult gift basket valued at more than $900, and to the Aurigemma family, who won the children’s basket valued at more than $400. The baskets included pilates, karate, and horseback riding classes, wine and spirits (for the adult basket!), baked goods, toys, art supplies and gift certificates galore. Thanks to 31 businesses for helping to make this event a success. Participating businesses included Diponio, Inc.; HiHo Home Market; Leitha M. Ortiz-Lesh Law; Raffaela’s Baked Goods; Village Market & Bakery; Lightsey Cycles; Kiss My Face; Main Course; The Village Grill; Uptown Attic; Tuthilltown Spirits; Tantillo Landscape Supplies; Full Moon Farm; Tantillo’s Farm Market; Meadowscent; Tiger Lily Jewelers; New Paltz Karate; Pilates on Main; Lombardi’s Restaurant; The Gold Fox; Jenkinstown Day Spa; Horses & Hounds Stables; Enthusiastic Spirits; Majestic’s Hardware; Dr. Nicole Smith; Pasquales; ImageINK Public Relations; the Gardiner Library; Walden Savings Bank, Fraleigh & Rakow and Café Mio.
The annual Trees of Giving is just one charitable event organized by the active Gardiner business group annually. Last year’s Trees of Giving benefitted the local food pantry by donating nearly 1,000 non-perishable food items and $300 to help feed needy families.