56 vendors pack Johnston PTSO Holly Fair


On a scale of 1-to-10 high, the Johnston High School Parent-Teacher-Student Organization’s Annual Holly Fair was a Perfect 56!

In short, as first-year President Lance Niles assessed: “Our 10th Annual Holly Fair was a tremendous success.”

Niles, who was part of the PTSO’s public relations greeting group, offered: “This was a wonderful combination of 56 vendors, four student groups and numerous PTSO and community volunteers partnered for a warm, friendly holiday celebration generated revenue for our vendors, raised funds for student groups and of course, raised money to benefit the JHS student community.”

The PTSO, in fact, transformed the JHS area of Cherry Hill into a classic and colorful holiday atmosphere, replete with unique signs, specially made wreaths and award-like decorations people would expect to see at such legendary venues as Rockefeller Center Skating Plaza in New York and the famed Edaville Railroad-Family Theme Park in South Carver, Massachusetts.

Vendor-wise, there was everything from beverages to baked goods to beautiful baskets along with handmade classic crafts for children and adults, awesome athletic and holiday garb, jewelry, elderberry nutrition drinks people sampled, apparel and accessories as well as every kind gift you’d expect to find in Santa’s North Pole Workshop.

Even Peg Guilmette, a JHS faculty member and advisor for the Class of 2023, crocheted a Polar Bear for a special raffle.

Likewise, there were unlimited baked goods, Bunny’s boxes featuring handmade trinket boxes with your favorite characters, Sweet Deliveries was on site with marshmallow snowmen and dog treats and famed Yacht Club Soda quenching everyone’s thirst as they shopped.

Saturday’s spectacular also featured a concession stand with meatball sandwiches made by Melissa Patrone, sticky wings donated by the Laflamme family and Patrick Russell offering plenty of This Guy’s Pizza while people enjoyed coffee and donated by Dunkin’ Donuts.

Moreover, Niles heaped words of praise upon “our student groups that brightened the event throughout the day and of course Santa Claus — Jackson Traxell — from the Class of 2023 as well as the many students who came dressed as elves.”

“The 10th Annual Holly Fair was an amazing success and couldn’t have happened without the hard work and dedication of our outgoing President Melissa Patrone and Secretary Deb McHale as well as the exceptional efforts of PSTO volunteers,” said committee member Lisa Calabro, whose son Dylan manned the Yacht Club Soda booth. “Everyone should be proud of their work.”

To which Niles added: “Melissa and Deb have been a driving force for the PTSO for any years and I want to take this opportunity to offer our gratitude on behalf of the entire Johnston community for the multitude of sacrifices that these two have made through the years. They have been the heart and soul of the PTSO and though I know they will help when needed, their central contributions over the years will be missed and are truly appreciated.”

Niles also recognized the “valuable work and dedication” of faculty member and Class Advisors like Peg Guilmette (2023), Debbie Smyth (Class of 2024) and Tia Forgetta (Class of 2025) as well as Linda Nixon (Class of 2024) and the JHS School Store who added to the event’s special success.

For several months, the PTSO has planned for its 10th annual holiday happening. Friday night, many members were at JHS to identify and mark off all the vendor locations in the cafeteria and corridor. Although the event began at 9 a.m., those dedicated volunteers — as well as the Panthers basketball team — were back to ensure what was a smooth set-up,

Late Saturday afternoon as the pleased vendors were packing up, Niles issued thank you upon thank you to countless people.

”Thank you to the entire Johnston community that came together to help us celebrate the beginning of the holiday season,” Niles said. “Thank you to all, and … Best Wishes to everyone for a safe, joyous and healthy holiday season the happiest of New Year’s too!”


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