Originally Published: November 15, 2017 6:02 a.m.
Thanksgiving originated as a Harvest Festival and has been celebrated in the United States on the last Thursday in November since 1789. Thanksgiving has been a federal holiday since 1864, when President Lincoln proclaimed it a national day of praise and thanksgiving to God for his blessings.
Miss Darlene, children’s librarian of the Chino Valley Public Library, has had her annual Pumpkin Pie Feast for the past 20 years to celebrate Thanksgiving.
“The staff and I used to make all the pumpkin pies, but in the last eight years, with the help of funds from Friends of the Library, we purchase them. Each year we have a special guest, and this year we are excited to have ‘The Gingerbread Lady’ (Jan Sandwich) who will tell Thanksgiving Day stories to the kids(usually age 6 and under) as well as doing some magic tricks for them. When the storytelling is all done, we all have pumpkin pie and apple juice,” Miss Darlene explained.
The Gingerbread Lady has been entertaining children in libraries, schools and private parties all over Arizona for the past 30 years portraying many characters.
“I am an actress so when I am telling the children stories, I act out the scenes using various voices etc.,” Sandwich said.
“I get such warm fuzzy feelings from all the sweet things the little kids say to me and it makes me feel more alive working with the kids. It’s such a blessing for me,” she added.
The Pumpkin Pie Feast will be on Nov. 20, starting at 10:30 a.m. in the children’s library.
“Our attendance is usually approximately 40 kids and parents. The families seem to really enjoy this children’s library tradition of getting together and visiting with each other,” said Miss Darlene. “I love this time of togetherness before all the holiday activities. Anyone who would like to come by for some pumpkin pie is welcome.”
Miss Darlene can be contacted at 928-636-9115. The Gingerbread Lady can be contacted at 602-224-4015.