Bronx GOP & Pelham Bay Merchants winter wonderland celebration

The Bronx GOP toy drive will be held during the Pelham Bay Merchants Assocation’s two-day winter wonderland holiday celebration.
Photo courtesy of the Bronx Republican Party

It is beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Pelham Bay thanks in part to both the Bronx Republican Party and the Pelham Bay Merchants Association.

The two neighborhood-based organizations have joined forces for the very first time to hold a special Winter Wonderland celebration event in the community.

“Every year, the Pelham Bay Merchants Association does a holiday party, but this is the first year we are doing this with the Bronx GOP,” explained Irene Guanhill, PBMA president.

“We both had great ideas and we decided to do this event together. Money is tight and a lot of merchants are struggling, but we will pull together to get this done. Last year, we gave away over 600 gifts, but now with the two of us working together it will be over 1,000 gifts this year,” she added.

Sparing no expense, the holiday festivities will be celebrated on Sunday, December 14 at 11 a.m. on Middletown Road and will feature tree decorating and lighting as well as many other planned festivities throughout the afternoon. Children are allowed and encouraged to bring ornaments to hang on the PBMA’s tree located inside Keane Square Park on Westchester and Buhre avenues.

“The community loves it and they’re the main motivation behind it,” explained Guanhill. “All of the residents and children who come out every year help make it successful and there’s something about having your ornament displayed on the tree which makes it special for everyone.”

A mailbox for letters addressed to Santa Claus is currently installed at Keane Square Park. There were over 500 letters sent to Old Saint Nick last year, according to Guanhill.

Lucca Italian Restaurant on 3019 Westchester Avenue will host a pasta dinner celebration as well as a special presentation of the Academy Award-winning Disney film, ‘Frozen’.

Guanhill said that children who attend Lucca in ‘Frozen’ costumes will eat for free, however, parents must make reservations beforehand. Dinner menu will be $15 with choices. To schedule reservations, call (718) 892-8282.

The Bronx GOP and PBMA will collect coats for a coat drive and will bring them to Ace Cleaners & Tailors located directly across the street from the park.

Following the passing of Anthony Ribustello’s father, Sonny, money was collected in his memory and raised toward purchasing toys for this upcoming holiday drive.

“We received a lot of money raised in Sonny’s memory and it’s one of the many reasons we have so many contributions that we could buy toys to give away,” divulged Luana Malavolta, Republican Female District Leader in 78th AD. “It’s a peaceful and joyful event for all of the Bronx and all are welcome to come see what we’re doing and to talk to us.”

The Winter Wonderland celebration will be held in front of the Bronx Republican Party’s building located at 3029 Middletown Road and will feature Santa Claus, a deejay, and hot chocolate to be served for all to enjoy while partaking in the day’s merriment.

All new toys will be distributed from the Bronx GOP office to children during this celebration.

“We’ve been around for years, but it’s only been recently that we’ve had a ‘hands-on’ chairman such as John Greaney,” Malavolta said. “He’s been doing such a great job and has been very focused on community outreach as he has an excellent vision for the organization. It’s because of our diversity that brings in a lot of this outreach and we invite everyone to come to this celebration.”

The Bronx GOP and PBMA would like to thank the National Black Republican Association, the Republican National Hispanic Assembly, and everyone who contributed to the Sonny Ribustello toy fund for helping to make this year’s holiday celebration successful.

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