Cambria's second-annual Thank You for ... Festival to share gratitude

ktanner@thetribunenews.comJanuary 30, 2013 

As Cambria heads into the month of love and toward Valentine’s Day, residents and visitors will have another February filled with hearts and thankfulness on signs that will be popping up like daffodils all over town.

Each happy token is to display a youth-drawn painting of gratitude.

It’s the second year for a program designed to create an upbeat mood and atmosphere for those traveling along the town’s main drags, including Main Street and Moonstone Beach Drive.

Last year, students in the YMCA’s after-school program prepared 137 such “Thank you for …” signs. More than 150 signs have been ordered for this year, with more orders arriving daily.

Sign orders, at $15 each, will be accepted through Thursday, Feb. 10. To order, call Jennifer Vialpando, program director for the Cambria Y Camp, at 305-8395, or camp staffer and “Thank you for …” organizer Stephanie Stacy at 235-6915 or stephanieastacy@sbcglobal.net.

For each sign, $5 goes toward the after-school program, $5 helps pay for materials and the balance goes to a nonprofit organization specified by the buyer.

Participating youngsters not only hand-paint the signs, but also must give presentations on the concept at service organization meetings, all part of their “service learning project” at the YMCA program.

There are some changes. This year, for instance, each heart-shaped sign is to have a laminated, type-set message, mounted on impressionistic artwork done individually by nearly 90 artists ages 5 to 11.

“It’s going to be a garden of color” and inspiration on the selected Cambria streets, Stacy said.
More children are involved in the light-hearted project this year, even beyond those in the Y program.

How so? Most people want to write their own feel-good messages, but others prefer to simply donate and let the youngsters figure out their own slogans of thankfulness. “Some people wanted the kids to put on the signs whatever they’re most grateful for,” said Stacy, the Energizer-bunny of organizers.

For instance: Mel’s Lock & Key ordered four of those signs; dentist Frank Fratto, 10; Leslie Gray of Deer Run Artifacts, six; and Enrique’s Gardening Service, seven.

Slogans for those signs are being dreamed up by individual grammar school classes, Stacy said, and YMCA artisans will create the stylized artwork for them.

Follow Kathe Tanner on Twitter at @CambriaReporter.

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