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03/01/2023 08:00 AM

Coming Together to Shine

It was Oct. 20, 2019, when I met Chester artist Christopher Owens when he visited the Chester Historical Society’s Chester Museum at The Mill. As with all visitors, it is interesting to learn more about who visits the Mill and what intrigues their interest to visit. He described where he lived, and we began to talk about how I knew his house because of its holiday light display. That introduction led to a pivotal conversation for our little town of Chester. Christopher explained how he had partnered with a Vermont Chamber to install lit stars on some of the buildings during winter.

At the time, the Historical Society was looking for ways to raise funds for much-needed capital improvements. Within days, the fundraiser “Light up the Night” was created. The intent was to sell as many stars as possible to help light up the dark skies of winter, raise money for the Mill’s capital improvement fund and pay Christopher for his time and materials. The marketing campaign was quickly up, and stars illuminated local houses. The fundraiser was a huge success and was re-invigorated in response to the COVID pandemic. In Spring 2020, the “Stars of Hope” campaign was held, raising money on behalf of households hit by the financial impacts of the pandemic.

Since 2019, the stars have continued to shine with a partnership between Christopher, the community of greater Chester, and the Merchants Association. Chester Historical Society is so grateful for this partnership. Christopher continues to support our participation in the larger community effort by volunteering to put up, take down and store the museum stars. It’s amazing what can be accomplished when you have great minds coming together to shine for the greater collective impact of a united community!

Dawn Parker

Chester Historical Society