📷 L-R: Elaine Dupuis, Jeannette Kowalewski, Shirley Gaulin, Karola Daigle, Pat Trahan and Beverly Legacy prepare decorations for the Casaubon Senior Center’s giving tree.

By Sarah Champagne

SOUTHBRIDGE – The Casaubon Senior center is busy planning for the upcoming holiday season, including a Halloween bash to be held at the Southbridge Community Center and work on the center’s first-ever “Festival of Giving Trees” tree, to be submitted to Notre Dame’s annual community Christmas event.

The senior center’s Halloween Harvest Festival will be held Wednesday, Oct. 31, from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m at the community center, 153 Chestnut Street. This event is not a luncheon like last year’s Octoberfest, but refreshments will be served. A DJ and performer Nicole Portwood, of Maggie the Clown fame, will provide entertainment.

Costumes are not required, but they are encouraged. There will be cash prizes for the best costumes with guest judges awarding $100 for first place, $50 for second place and $25 for third place. The event is sponsored by S.A.L.T. – Seniors and Law Enforcement Together, which is a coalition of law enforcement agencies and senior centers in Southbridge, Sturbridge and Charlton

The event is free to seniors in Southbridge, Sturbridge and Charlton.  Tri-Valley Elder Services will provide free transportation to and from the event. Southbridge seniors should call Tri-Valley to arrange a ride and R.S.V.P to the event by calling the Casaubon Senior Center. Seniors from Sturbridge or Charlton should call their senior centers to R.S.V.P for the event and for transportation. Phone numbers for the three senior centers and Tri-Valley Elder Services are listed at the end of this article.

A group of senior citizens who are frequent visitors to the Casaubon Senior Center has also been busy preparing the Christmas tree to donate to Notre Dame’s Festival of Giving Trees. This annual holiday tradition in Southbridge is in its 21 st year. The four-day festival includes entertainment, food, family activities and plenty of raffles.

The main feature of the Festival of Giving Trees is a room full of decorated Christmas trees, donated by various community groups and individuals. The gymnasium on the second floor of La Salle Reception Center is transformed into a festive environment with decorated trees that range from traditional to humorous.

The decorated trees are raffled off at the end of the four-day event, which runs from Nov. 29 to Dec. 2. All proceeds benefit three cancer-prevention nonprofits: The Silent Spring Institute, The Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition and The Cancer Center at Harrington Hospital. Applications to enter a tree are accepted until November 16. For more information, go to www.sparklingtrees.com.

To contact your local senior center to reserve a spot at the Haloween Harvest Festival by October 19:

Casaubon Senior Center: (508) 764-1469

Sturbridge Senior Center: (508) 347-7575

Charlton Senior Center: (508) 248-2331

Tri-Valley Elder Services (for transportation in Southbridge): (508) 949-6640

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