BENNINGTON -- A monthly "building project" event for children evolved into a autumn-themed photo opportunity for parents and their charges at Home Depot over the weekend.
On the first Saturday of each month children ages 2 - 12 are invited to attend a free "kids' workshop," where they build a craft, receive an apron and a pin as well as a certificate of participation.
This month, as part of a company-wide competition, Holly Avalon and Laurie Saunders of Bennington used seven wood pallets and various other Home Depot products and supplies to create a barn backdrop where children could pose and have their photographs taken at no cost.
"I am not a builder," laughed Saunders, who estimated the project took them at least 20 hours.
Employed by Grower Merchandising Services, based in Somers, Conn., Saunders is in charge of annuals and perennials sold at the Bennington store. She helped assemble the photo opportunity in a contest with other Home Depots in the New England area that also carry flowers by GMS, to win "most creative."
"We won't know until probably next week if we won," said Saunders, noting that she counts their pumpkin-filled creation among the top three.
The prize? "It's just a great sense of camaraderie."
In a larger than usual turnout, over 130 children participated in both this month's project and time in the spotlight.
Local photographer Richard Setzer donated his time behind the camera for several hours, and took photos of his grandsons, Kamden Setzer-Sheldon, 5, and Peyton Setzer, 4.
"We've had a great turn-out," said Connie Mintrone, a Home Depot associate who runs the project day each month along with Nancy Nadeau, both of Bennington. "The pictures brought more people in, and the kids got extra little prizes to take home."
A holiday-themed photo opportunity is being planned for December.
Contact Khynna at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @khynnakat.