Angela Jones: Squirrel It Away
Angela Jones will not be wearing a squirrel costume on Chester’s upcoming Squirrel Days, Friday to Sunday, April 29 to May 1.
“Nobody volunteered to wear one,” she admits.
But Angela will be there. She is one of the Chester Rotary’s co-chairs for Squirrel Days. John Ivimey is the other co-chair. The event will benefit Chester’ Rotary’s program of charitable giving and Homeward Bound, a local non-profit organization that facilitates dog adoptions.
The squirrel is Chester’s iconic mascot, but Squirrel Days, as Angela points out, is an added attraction to another Chester classic, the annual rubber duck race at Pattaconk Brook on Saturday, April 30 starting at 2 p.m.
“Rotary has always done the rubber duck race; we wanted to find a way to make it into a family weekend,” Angela explains.
The race will be preceded by a floating parade of pool inflatables honoring the event’s sponsors, among them a lobster for Rotary’s Lobster Fest, a beer stein for Little House Brewing Company, a peacock for Dina Varano, and a fried egg float (yes, that’s right, a fried egg float) for the Wheat Market.
In addition to the duck race, there will be children’s events, music, and on Sunday, May 1 at 10 a.m. there will be a dog walk through local streets. Participants who make a donation to Homeward Bound will get a ticket for a free pupcup at Honeycone Creamery in Chester or a free pint at The Pattaconk 1850 Bar and Grille.
The Chester Merchants Association is participating in the event with wristbands that entitle wearers to special discounts for Squirrel Days at local stores. Wristbands, which also include a rubber duck to enter in the race, cost $10; the cost for a duck alone is $5.
There are prizes for the top three duck race winners, but Angela says the prizes are not the most important part of the event.
“It is not really about the prizes. That’s okay; it’s fun to pick out your duck; it’s fun to be downtown. You expect not winning,” she says. “The race really speaks to me and I know lots of people have the same experience.”
Angela adds that many towns have rubber duck races. In fact, a friend who doesn’t live in Chester emailed Angela to say she was sad she had missed the race. Angela pointed out the race had not yet happened.
When the friend had searched on the Internet, she had found the rubber duck race for Chester, England, scheduled for earlier in April.
Angela, the youngest of four children, was born in Nebraska but moved to Chester when she was three months old. She still has a basket that she won as an infant for being the youngest female resident in Chester. She graduated from Valley Regional High School in 2004 and started college, but decided it was not for her.
“Just more high school,” she says. “I learn better on the job.”
Now she’s a client success manager proficient in a wide range of business software. She explains she is the key interface between clients, most of them trucking services, and Foley Carrier Services.
“It’s about whatever the clients need—trucking compliance, regulations, and they keep adding more of them,” she says.
Angela joined Rotary four years ago at the same time her father, Greg Jones, did.
“I joined when my father ditched me for daughter date night out, so if I wanted to see him, I had to do it,” Angela says.
Still, she and her father continue to have special times together, among them Thursday Night Trivia at The Pattaconk. She says the key to winning is having a good team with different areas of specialization.
She describes herself as good at animals, food, and pop culture.
“My dad says we need a good sports person. Neither of us is too good at professional sports,” she says.
The games are multiple choice and Angela recalls one question about animals: Which of four animals given was not poisonous? Her father was sure the answer was platypus, but Angela had read about the platypus as a child and she knew that the male platypus did in fact, have the ability to excrete a venom.
He didn’t listen to her, however, and chose platypus.
“It was his one wrong answer for the night,” Angela recalls. “We give each other one [question] answered too quickly and messed-up option per game.”
Angela is working from home, which gives a new challenge to her hobby of baking. She liked to bring her creations into the office for everybody to enjoy. No office means far fewer people to try her offerings—“A real danger for gaining weight,” she says.
One of her favorites is an almond meringue cookie, best made in cool temperatures. It needs to rest on a counter to set but humidity in the summer makes that hard. But then she can make another specialty, cream puffs.
Angela left Connecticut for four years, living in Philadelphia, but then moved back. She still loves to travel, but she has no desire to move away again permanently.
This is where I grew up. I love this area,” she says. “Why ever leave?”
Chester Squirrel Days and Duck Race
Chester Squirrel Days start Friday, April 29 at noon and continue on Saturday and Sunday, April 30 and May 1 throughout Chester Village. The Rubber Duck Race and Float Parade is on April 30 at 2 p.m. the Dog Walk is on May 1 at 10 a.m.
Wristbands and ducks are for sale at The Pattaconk, The Wayfinder Society, Kelly’s Wings Gift Shop, Little House, and Chester Package Store and also at Rusty Rail in Deep River on April 23. For online sales, visit www.homewardboundct.org/csw2022.