Santa's House is going to get some extra company when the candlelight vigil for the families of Newtown, CT, organized by Joely Bienkowski and Nikki Anderson of Burrillville comes to the mini-park next to City Hall Saturday at 6 p.m.
The event, held in memory of the lives lost at Sandy Hook School, will feature recording artist Gael Berberick, who will be opening the ceremony
with her song "Hope for Peace".
Other entertainment will include singing, dance performances from Lyrics in Motion senior company members and an appearance by Michael Jackson
impersonator Mark Fisher.
There will also be a balloon release ceremony for the victims, and St. Nick, too. "We are expecting a lot of kids so I'm sure they'll be happy to see Santa," said Anderson.
Bienkowski said the vigil was suggested by the four children in the RI Chapter of Kids for Peace: Skyler Bienkowski, 6, her daughter, Chloe Anderson, 11, Jamie Anderson, 5, and Liam Gardinerfay,10. Bienkowski said they wanted to do something to help the families after learning about the shootings Friday. If more people thought and acted like these four kids, she said, the world would be a better place. "I think it's one way for the community to come together and heal, Bienkowski said, "Heal themselves. This was a tragedy and a horrible event."
Bienkowski said her daughter told Hilarie Veins of Lyrics in Motion studio, where she takes classes, about their plans, and she offered to bring her dancers to the event.
Bienkowski said they've received a big response from the community about the vigil, from people who want to attend. "I think so many people just wish they could do something," she said.
People attending are encouraged to bring an ornament to decorate a memorial tree - an artificial Christmas tree - honoring the Sandy Hook victims. The tree will be brought to the memorial site in Newtown, CT the following morning.
Tables will be set up with refreshments, a card-making station for
everyone to make cards and pictures for the Newtown community, and donations to benefit the families and community affected by the tragedy will be collected.
Kids for Peace RI was started in May of 2011, by Nikki Anderson and her fiancee, Steven Boss. It's one of more than 100 chapters worldwide seeking to cultivate kids ability to foster peace through cross-cultural experiences, hands-on arts, service and environmental projects.
"We are doing this to bring the community together in such a tragic
time. Kids for Peace RI is a small group of children who were
devastated by the actions of the gunman, and wanted to do something
that would unite people together in our small state for a night of
love, hope, and showing our support to those in Newtown," Anderson said.