“Spaceman” Santa helps promote Toys for Tots

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Craftsbury General Store owner Emily Maclure, left, and Michelle Guenard, creator of Michelle’s Spicy Kimchee, pose on Santa’s lap.  Santa was being played by Red Sox baseball player Bill Lee.  Photos by Bethany M. Dunbar

Craftsbury General Store owner Emily Maclure, left, and Michelle Guenard, creator of Michelle’s Spicy Kimchi, pose on Santa’s lap. Santa was being played by Red Sox baseball player Bill Lee. Photos by Bethany M. Dunbar

by Bethany M. Dunbar

copyright the Chronicle 1-2-2013

CRAFTSBURY — The Toys for Tots box was looking a little sad.  Craftsbury General Store owner Emily Maclure was searching for a way to encourage customers to bring in a toy to donate to the project, which provides new toys for children who might not have a lot under the tree.

She got to talking about the situation with Bill Lee, the retired Red Sox baseball player who lives nearby.  Next thing you know, Mr. Lee was signed up to play Santa in order to get some more attention to the Toys for Tots program.

It was an opportunity for Mr. Lee to promote his new brand of wine, called Spaceman.  Add live music, provided by Mavis MacNeil and Andrew Koehler, and an event was born.

Mavis MacNeil and Andrew Koehler provided music for the event.

Mavis MacNeil and Andrew Koehler provided music for the event.

Spaceman was Mr. Lee’s nickname when he was on the Red Sox, and he had a label created that looks like an old-fashioned baseball card.  Mr. Lee grew up in the Napa Valley in California but has roots in Vermont as well.  He feels strongly that wines made in California are better because the state gets more sun.  He said maybe Vermont wines made with white grapes will be all right.

Spaceman wine is also a fund-raiser.  The label promises that a portion of the profits from the wine will go to the Red Sox Foundation, which supports a Red Sox Scholars program and an inner city baseball program.

Mr. Lee calls his wine a “petit cera cera.”

He describes it, on the label, as such:

“Shanghaied for fifty years on the east coast by the game of baseball, Bill ‘Spaceman’ Lee — sixth generation Californian and prodigal son has returned to his roots by making a monsterous red wine, like that which has run through his ancestors veins and vines since the 1800s.

“This wine will knock your Sox off.”

On the day of the promotion, December 22, Mr. Lee gave people tastes of his wine.  He came equipped with autographed baseball bats as well.

Michelle Guenard, right, pretends to attack Bill Lee with a bottle of the new Spaceman wine he has created, called Spaceman, while Ms. Maclure pretends to attack him with an autographed baseball bat.

Michelle Guenard, right, pretends to attack Bill Lee with a bottle of the new Spaceman wine he has created, called Spaceman, while Ms. Maclure pretends to attack him with an autographed baseball bat.

Michelle Guenard, creator of Michelle’s Spicy Kimchi, came by with a Red Sox jersey, and before long, she and Ms. Maclure were posing for photos on Santa’s lap and pretending to attack him with wine bottles and an autographed bat.

Ms. Maclure added another incentive for people to donate:  Anyone who brought in a toy would be entered to win one pizza a month for a year.

It worked.

As the musicians were packing up on the afternoon of December 22, Ms. Maclure said the event had helped fill up the Toys for Tots box.

contact Bethany M. Dunbar at bethany@bartonchronicle.com

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Summertime 2012

Some of our favorite images of summer 2012 in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont:

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Stunts at the air show at the Newport State Airport. Photo by Joseph Gresser

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Bread and Puppet Theater brings up the rear of a terrific Independence Day parade in Barton. Photo by Tena Starr

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Lynn Berard of Barton sold her watercolors at the Crafts of the Lake Region craft show July 28 to benefit the Barton Public Library. Photo by Tena Starr

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Reed Olsen (259), of Barton, got off to a fast start in the 2012 edition of the Tour de Glover on Saturday, July 28, but not fast enough to capture first place. His time of 55 minutes 39 seconds was bettered by a slim five seconds by Hartford, Connecticut, rider Brendan Mahoney. The Tour de Glover is one of the signature events that mark Glover Day. Glover Day, the last Saturday of July each year, is a town-wide celebration of community to benefit volunteer organizations. Photo by Joseph Gresser

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Emily Maclure, who grew up in Orleans, is the new owner of the Craftsbury General Store. Photo by Bethany M. Dunbar

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Katie Levasseur, Ms. Vermont 2011, at left, stands with Newport City Renaissance Corporation director Patricia Sears during Taste of Newport festivities in June 2012. Photo by Joseph Gresser

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Robert Tanguay (left) as SpongeBob Squarepants, and his teammate Lance Wells walked in the Relay for Life fundraiser to fight cancer in Newport June 23 and 24. Photo by Richard Creaser

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Rain on a rose in West Glover. Photo by Bethany M. Dunbar

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Governor Peter Shumlin cools off with an ice cream cone as Jamie Michaud of Kingdom Creamery in Hardwick and his wife, Leslie, stand by. Photo by Joseph Gresser

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Twenty-six horses and riders took to the trails for the Rhonda Libby Memorial Trail Ride to benefit the Pope Memorial Frontier Animal Shelter on the CCC trails at the south end of Lake Willoughby. Pictured above, from left to right, are: Deb Libby, Rhonda Libby’s sister, riding Rose; Connie Knaggs, shelter manager, riding Hameed; and Cindy Libby, Rhonda's sister-in-law, riding Lena. Photo by Brianne Nichols.

Stunts at the air show at the Newport State Airport.  Photo by Joseph GresserBread and Puppet Theater brings up the rear of a terrific Independence Day parade in Barton.  Photo by Tena StarrLynn Berard of Barton sold her watercolors at the Crafts of the Lake Region craft show July 28 to benefit the Barton Public Library.  Photo by Tena StarrReed Olsen (259), of Barton, got off to a fast start in the 2012 edition of the Tour de Glover on Saturday, July 28, but not fast enough to capture first place.  His time of 55 minutes 39 seconds was bettered by a slim five seconds by Hartford, Connecticut, rider Brendan Mahoney.  The Tour de Glover is one of the signature events that mark Glover Day.  Glover Day, the last Saturday of July each year, is a town-wide celebration of community to benefit volunteer organizations.  Photo by Joseph GresserEmily Maclure, who grew up in Orleans, is the new owner of the Craftsbury General Store. Photo by Bethany M. DunbarKatie Levasseur, Ms. Vermont 2011, at left, stands with Newport City Renaissance Corporation director Patricia Sears during Taste of Newport festivities in June 2012.  Photo by Joseph GresserRobert Tanguay (left) as SpongeBob Squarepants, and his teammate Lance Wells walked in the Relay for Life fundraiser to fight cancer in Newport June 23 and 24.  Photo by Richard CreaserRain on a rose in West Glover. Photo by Bethany M. DunbarGovernor Peter Shumlin cools off with an ice cream cone as Jamie Michaud of Kingdom Creamery in Hardwick and his wife, Leslie, stand by.  Photo by Joseph GresserTwenty-six horses and riders took to the trails for the Rhonda Libby Memorial Trail Ride to benefit the Pope Memorial Frontier Animal Shelter on the CCC trails at the south end of Lake Willoughby. Pictured above, from left to right, are:  Deb Libby, Rhonda Libby’s sister, riding Rose; Connie Knaggs, shelter manager, riding Hameed; and Cindy Libby, Rhonda's sister-in-law, riding Lena.  Photo by Brianne Nichols.
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