Weston beekeepers open gardens to cancer cure fund-raiser More than 400 attend Chocolate, Cheese Fest in Chester

MacLaury fund-raiser
in honor of grandson,
brain cancer survivor

Community members are invited to an Open Garden Fundraiser to help fight cancer from 3 to 7 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 18 at the MacLaury residence, 21 Turner Road in Weston.

Carol and Steve MacLaury of Peabody Mountain Apiaries are known for their beekeeping prowess and the honey and other fine products they create from that venture.  Now, the family is devoting much of its emotional energy on Team #grahamstrong and it and Carol’s participation in the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walkon Sept. 22. Team #grahamstrong is in honor of the MacLaurys’ 12-year-old grandson, Graham, a brain cancer survivor. This year’s team goal is $10,000 and the entire walking group of 9,000 hopes to raise $9 million, topping last year’s record of $8.6 million.

Last year, Carol finished the 26.2 mile route taking 69,128 steps over 11 hours and 40 minutes  and raising $6,325.

Attendees to the Aug. 18 event are invited to wander the MacLaurys’ berry patches and perennial  and vegetable gardens in support of their efforts. Sip wines from Spain and Vermont, craft Vermont beers and enjoy other non-alcoholic beverages and tasty hors d’oeuvres from many of our awesome local restaurants and farms. Bid on silent auction items from the West River Farmer’s Market vendors and other local businesses.

There is a $25 minimum donation at the door and all funds raised will go to support the Jimmy Fund and Dana Farber Cancer Institute via Carol MacLaury’s Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk Team #grahamstrong.

If you cannot attend the fundraiser, you can learn more about Team #grahamstrong or donate online by clicking here.

Chocolate, Cheese & Chili Fest a success in Chester

Diners under the big tent at the Chocolate, Cheese & Chili Fest held to benefit Neighborhood Connections. All photos by Cynthia Prairie

More than 400 — and possibly as many as 500 — people turned out on Monday, Aug. 5 for the annual Neighborhood Connections benefit that draws out the chocolate, cheese and chili lovers among us.

For the first time, the event was held in Chester, in the flat and lushly green fields of Motel in the Meadow on Route 11 West. Until this year, it had been hosted by the Landgrove Inn.

Under a huge white tent, more than 20 vendors — quite a number of them small businesses and home cooks– offered attendees samples of everything from pies and mini-cupcakes to Vermont cheeses and mild to spicy chili.

Decorated brownies provided by the Windham Community Organization and baker Claudia Holmes.

The fest offered tables with kids’ activities — including cupcake decorating and a tattoo station — to draw more families in. And in center was laid out more than 70 items donated by individuals and businesses for the silent auction. By the end of the evening, everyone had had their fill and every item had been bid on.

Neighborhood Connections, based in Londonderry, serves Andover, Chester, Jamaica, Landgrove, Londonderry, Peru, South Londonderry,  Weston, Windham and Winham with health and social services needs.

Neighborhood Connections Executive Director Trish Paradis.

Chester resident Trish Paradis, Neighborhood Connections executive director, said more than 30 volunteers were helping out that evening. And she added that tickets were sold at the Southern Pie Cafe and Motel in the Meadow in Chester as well at at the Green Mountain Pharmacy and her office, both in Londonderry.

The money, she said, will go into the organization’s general fund to pay for services such as social workers, their community nurse advocate and program coordinator.

Wantastiquet Rotary members serve up several ‘strengths’ of chili.

On Tuesday, Paradis said she had received “great feedback from the community … people enjoyed the event, and said it was good energy.” She added that she saw “a lot of new faces.” She also praised the efforts of event host Pat Budnick, owner of Motel in the Meadow. “She was very accommodating.”

As for returning to Chester next year, it’s a committee decision. “But, it’s a good possibility,” Paradis said.

— Cynthia Prairie

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