BUNNY IN THE CITY: Third Annual Trustees' Garden Christmas Festival

Ford, Amber and Ella Grace Giles, Tina Armour, Justin Giles

Bringing back a good old fashioned family event, Trustees’ Garden Christmas Festival returned for the third year on Saturday, December 17. With their promise of “100% chance of snow”, train rides, rock wall, life size globe bouncy houses, food trucks, and a merry marketplace, this event has become the signature event of the season!

Out for her Christmas break, Windsor Forest Elementary teacher Cindy Nipper jumps out of my Jeep and waits impatiently for me to enter the iconic Kehoe Iron Works complex and have her picture taken with”ExperBear” from the fabulous ExperCARE team. Standing tall and quiet, the blue bear leans towards me and whispers, “Hey Bunny, it’s me!” 

Because I’m uber distracted, it doesn’t dawn on me that inside the bear suit is their chief of staff, Jackie Schott. Giggling when she tells me she is “always up for anything” when she volunteered to wear the “hugging officer mascot suit”, I take a minute to commend her on their four locations before grabbing a few hand sanitizer clip-ons.

At the check-in desk across from us is professional volunteer and retired oil dude Larry Baskin. When I met Larry and his zany wife Erica two years ago, I introduced them to the Lions Club of Savannah (they were enlisted on site) and to Peggi Moon of Pegasus Riding Academy. I’m not sure how many days a week you can find Larry teaching horseback lessons, mucking stalls and feeding horses but Peggi hit the jackpot with this giving guy!

Also, Larry is my winner of the best costume of the year with his rendition of Clark Griswold at the Make-A-Wish Foundation’s Waiting for Wishes event a few weeks ago. Remembering his St. Patrick’s Day green sequin jacket and his authentic Halloween attire as an old-school gangster, this relatively quiet guy sure does come up with the best costumes! Hoping to grow a fierce white beard for next year to star as Santa, Larry agrees to pose with Lois Klitsch, Jeff Samuels and the G.O.A.T. volunteer, Lisa Roberson!

Perennially pleasant, always dressed to the nines and one of the most beloved ladies in town, Lisa loves pics so much that she will interrupt my photos to ask for selfies! The Savannah Arts Academy media assistant is lavishly attired in a green plaid scarf, black fur vest and has a set of antlers perched on her head!

When I ask the fourth generation Savannah girl why she volunteers so much, she responds with, “The charities that I support are so important. The Ronald McDonald House needs help for these precious children and their families and The Center for Blind and Low Vision needs all the assistance they can get. One day we may need their help and if everyone did a little bit, the world would be a better place,” shares the sweetest blonde I know.

As the view opens up ahead of me, I see a massive Christmas tree perched at the top of the hill where lines have already formed to sled down 60 tons of snow! Knowing that I am going to get some wicked funny pics of families, I find the perfect one with Glenn and Tammi Brantley with their family, Sutton, Caitlin and Gunnar Hendrix.

The retired Savannah Fire Department Captain admits retirement is “glorious.” After 32 years serving our city and three years enjoying the “good life,” Glenn adds, “I miss the camaraderie of my brothers and sisters in all five of the stations I worked in. I miss the kids coming by the station to check out the fire trucks but I love being with my family even more and now we travel, camp, boat and fish as much as we want.”

Wishing I could talk all day, I trot over to snap a pic of first time attendee Randy Chu as he videos his daughter Alena and her Savannah Country Day classmate Harper Sheridan zooming down the snow slope, besties Scarlett Jackson and Ava Jarvis as they run into the flurries of snow at the train track then introduce photographer Kaitlins Sells to Mr. Charles Hill Morris, Sr. and his childhood friend from Augusta, Dr. North Goodwin.

While Kaitlin and I chat with the retired orthopedic surgeon about what we love about today’s festivities, Mr. Morris adds, “How many events can you go to that have this many generations attend. We wanted to give an event that everyone can enjoy, and Kathy Kurazawa has done a tremendous job creating a special family-friendly Christmas event for all of us.” 

Amen to that! While looking out over the wide lawn filled with vendors, I see kids getting their face painted, dads having a beverage, grandparents watching kids practice their hockey swing with the Ghost Pirates while Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus hold court. For me, I have to say thank you to Mr. Morris for restoring a historic structure that hosts events and creates fabulous memories for generations of Savannahians to come! Thank you sir!


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