On Friday the clouds parted for the kick-off to the 14th Annual Greenwich Reindeer Festival and Santa’s Workshop at Sam Bridge Nursery & Greenhouses.
Santa’s long anticipated arrival was marked by a “We’re Back Party,” complete with cake and ponies and Pau Pau’s Pizza Cones food truck.
Families came to have their photos taken with Santa in his sleigh, and to select wreathes, holiday decorations and Christmas trees.
During the “We’re Back Party,” children especially enjoyed having a chance to meet rescue ponies “Army” and “Navy,” from Rising Starr Horse Rescue in Wilton. One pony had been neglected, the other had been sick. Both are happy an well cared for today.
Since a horse can live 40 to 50 years, they microchip them in the Rising Starr name and keep in touch with them after they’re adopted out. In addition to rescue and education work, Rising Star offers boarding and riding lessons. They also welcome volunteers.
The event’s premier sponsor is for the second year is Jenny Allen/Compass Real Estate. Ms Allen, a local realtor in Greenwich with four children in Greenwich Schools – one at EMS an three at Greenwich High School – said she met her husband at GHS.
“I love bringing smiles to children’s faces, and I love supporting Sam Bridge, which is a local family business,” Allen said. “It’s nice to be able to give back to my community.”
Maggie Bridge, whose daughter Birdie was born three days after Christmas, said the Bridge family had a small baby boom during the pandemic.
“There were four new babies in our family between April and November, and 10 babies among our staff,” she said.
Maggie explained that the fresh cut trees are hung from the greenhouse ceilings on cords so customers can come in from the cold and can spin the trees around to assess them before making a selection.
While there are hundreds of trees at Sam Bridge, Maggie said their situation was unique.
“There is a Christmas tree shortage for a couple reasons. First, people are getting out of the industry,” she said. “In the 2008 recession people planted fewer trees, and so today we see the shortage of 8 foot to 9 foot trees, which are the size everyone wants.”
Also, she said, tree farmers are aging out, and new ones are not starting because banks are reluctant to loan make loans given the industry is unpredictable.