Host-A-Family seeks holiday donations, volunteers

The Host-A-Family (HAF) organization is looking for businesses and individuals who could provide gifts anonymously for more than 300 families in need during the holiday season.

The group is short of covering gifts for nearly 125 families, organizer Lisa Clark told the Hub. 

Last year, the group helped close to 160 families in Stoughton. The nonprofit Host a Family organization has been in operation for about 20 years.

Those wishing to be added to the list of potential hosts for this year’s Christmas giving event should email as soon as possible so they can get their family wish list and gifts delivered to HAF for the early December delivery to the recipients.


Still thankful

Photo by Bill Livick. From left, Terry Parisi, her son Franco and his girlfriend, Janelle Burnham, take a break from putting together the last CSA boxes of the season Sunday at Parisi Family Farm.

Thanksgiving has always been a time to celebrate with friends and family on the Parisi farm, located on Halverson Road a few miles north of Stoughton.

The holiday marks the end of the growing and harvesting season. It’s a time to get some rest after long workdays and enjoy good company and the food grown organically on the farm.

But this Thanksgiving is going to be tough for Terry Parisi, her three adult children and extended family and friends.

Her husband of 35 years, Ron, died at age 60 in July after a four-year battle with cancer.

Terry said Ron was a man with “a lot of integrity,” and it was hard to continue the farming operation as his health declined and his death became imminent.


A festive holiday weekend Dec. 5-7

The air is brisk. The sound of carolers fills the air. Laughter and light-hearted excitement permeates the city as the festive holiday weekend gets under way.

Kick off the holiday season this year with Victorian Holiday Weekend in downtown Stoughton on Friday, Dec. 5, through Sunday, Dec. 7. 

Weekend activities include theater, dance, music, shopping, a run and more. Families may want to see a show, decorate holiday cards or cookies, and see the illuminated fire truck parade.

Stoughton Hospital’s love lights ceremony is the first event of the weekend at 4:30 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 4. 

Watch the holiday light display at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 5 through New Year’s Day at Stoughton Rotary Park, just east of the Fire Station. All of the lights will be sequenced to holiday music broadcast over 88.5 FM radio.


Stoughton natives bring Found Footage Festival to Madison

Stoughton natives Nick Prueher and Joe Pickett, co-hosts of the New York-based Found Footage Festival, will be back in the Madison Area Friday, Nov. 28, at the Barrymore Theatre on Madison’s near east side.

The Found Footage Festival is a showcase of VHS videos purchased at garage sales and secondhand stores – or just picked out of Dumpsters – throughout North America, with the hosts providing live commentary. Prueher and Pickett began collecting tapes in 1991 after they found a training video called “Inside and Outside Custodial Duties” at a Stoughton McDonald’s.

The show marks the festival’s 10th anniversary and will include a look back at some of the group’s greatest hits, including the fake chef prank it pulled on newscasts around the state last Thanksgiving. The video has been viewed nearly 2 million times on YouTube.


Record number in need

Photo by Scott De Laruelle. Frank Zych, a volunteer at the Stoughton Area Food Pantry, stocks shelves Monday afternoon. The pantry serves hundreds of people in the area, and the need is growing, he said.

The need has increased, but thanks to help from residents and local businesses, the Stoughton Food Pantry is stepping up to meet the demand. 

Still, with cold weather here and the holidays fast approaching, pantry officials hope more people can get in the spirit of the season and donate food and money to help their neighbors.

Volunteer Dan Marshall said the pantry, which is not funded by the city, is hitting “record numbers” of people it’s serving this year. 

“This July there were 644 people, which is the highest we’ve ever had – about 235 households – 399 adults and 245 children,” he said. “It’s a lot of people. In terms of poundage for July, it was 15,980 for food delivered.”


Thanksgiving meals offered in community

Thanksgiving can be a time for many to gather with family and friends around a table for conversation and plentiful food. However, the reality is not everyone in the community has access to a hot meal or enough money for turkey with all the trimmings.

Some area churches, organizations and businesses are offering free or reduced-price Thanksgiving meals in a congregate setting for low-income and homeless individuals and families who might otherwise have no opportunity to celebrate the holiday. 

Listed below are places hosting traditional Thanksgiving meals for the Stoughton community. 

Stoughton Area Senior Center
What: Stoughton Area Senior Center Thanksgiving meal
Where: 248 W. Main St. #1, Stoughton
Info: 206-1178
When: 11 and 12:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 27
Cost: Free and open to the community


Norwegian reality show sparks connection

Photo submitted. The cast of season 4 of “The Great Norwegian Adventure,” the No. 1-watched reality TV show in Norway, featured Dane County native Angela Flatland at far right. The show is now casting for its sixth season and is looking for Stoughton area residents with Norwegian blood and interest in participating.

Angela Flatland is a pretty big deal in Norway.

The Madison native has a lot of Norwegian heritage, and always enjoyed traveling down to Stoughton for the annual Syttende Mai celebration. But she had no idea what she was in for last spring when she traveled to Norway for the first time as a contestant in the fourth season of the country’s No. 1 reality TV show, “Alt for Norge” (The Great Norway Adventure).

This fall, the Emmy Award-winning show is casting for an upcoming sixth season, and is hoping Stoughton might have a candidate or two that can show their true Norwegian spirit.  The show follows 12 Norwegian-Americans who fly to Norway and immerse themselves in the culture and compete in a series of adventurous and fun challenges. The winner receives a cash prize of $50,000 and meets Norwegian relatives they don’t even know exist. 


An 'Ed-zoo-cation' photos

An 'Ed-zoo-cation'

Volunteers from Henry Vilas Zoo offered Stoughton children and parents a chance to learn about and see some unusal critters Friday, Oct. 24, at the Community Gym. The program included animals like the giant African millipede, a python and some Madagascar hissing cockroaches.


Making a Difference

Photos submitted. Hillary Johnson returned to a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan this week after a few weeks home in Stoughton.

Stoughton native Hillary Johnson is making a difference in the lives of Syrians who’ve been driven from their homes by war.



Singers, string players fall concert Nov. 14

Photo submitted. The Stoughton Chamber Singers, shown above, will join the Bel Canto String Ensemble to present a “Pastorale”-themed fall concert at 7:30 p.m., Nov. 14, at the Stoughton Opera House.

The Stoughton Chamber Singers and Bel Canto String Ensemble, under the direction of John Beutel, will present their fall concert at 7:30 p.m., Nov. 14, at the Stoughton Opera House.

The music to be performed will reflect the “Pastorale” theme and will include a wide variety of music that reflects the rustic, rural, simple and idyllic.

The concert will open with a square dance selection from Aaron Copland’s opera, “The Tender Land,” followed by John Rutter’s serene setting of Psalm 23.

The Bel Canto String Ensemble will include a Vivaldi concerto “alla rustica” and the “Shepherd’s Hey,” a setting of a Morris Dance by Percy Grainger. 

The choir will conclude the concert with a Dakota Native American hymn, “Dixie,” and two Shaker tunes, “Simple Gifts” and “Ye Followers of the Lamb.”