For a little while, little ones might have almost believed they were in Cinderella’s Castle. With the Pakachoag Church stained glass windows casting multi-color sunbeams and the impressive pipe organ as a backdrop, over 300 people dined, danced and sang along with Princess Belle, Mickey Mouse, Elmo, and others.
The event was a fundraiser organized by the Friends of the Pappas Recreation Complex to raise money for a playground at the Complex. “We raised close to $2,000 through ticket sales and donations.” says Friends member Jennifer LaBonte. “People were so generous, we received almost $500 in additional donations.”
The money raised will be matched through a $50,000 challenge grant that is effective through March 31, 2014.
Aside from a buffet breakfast and a variety of Disney characters, the Friends offered pieces of the playground for sale. “It made it [the playground] more real to people, to offer them the chance to sponsor a specific piece of the playground; to help buy a slide, or a climbing structure” said LaBonte. Donors were given certificates to be used as a gift or a stocking stuffer that specified what the donor has sponsored.
The cooking was coordinated by volunteers from Simply Delicious Catering and served by members of the Friends of Pappas Recreation Complex and Pakachoag Church. The church congregation put their typical Sunday activities on hold to accommodate the breakfast as well to assist at the event. “We don’t usually have 300 people here on Sunday morning. So this seemed like good idea.” said Rev. Dennis Knight.
Copacabana Entertainment out of Worcester, MA provided the performers and the characters. “They were just awesome” said Friends president Jeff LaBonte. “They were completely flexible when we were planning this, and even right up to the time of the event they were accommodating changes. They even came with an extra performer!”
All things considered, the day was an outstanding success. “It went great.” said LaBonte. “I’m not sure we’re in a hurry to do it again right away though!”
Photos by John Anderson