ShareThis Page
Giant nutcracker a fundraising hit in Vandergrift |
Valley News Dispatch

Giant nutcracker a fundraising hit in Vandergrift

Mary Ann Thomas
| Thursday, December 6, 2018 4:30 p.m
Kelly Adamik owner of Kelly’s Salon and Gathering Room, and Bobbie Morda, owner of Bobbie’s Jewelers, both in Vandergrift, pose with the 9-foot-tall nutcracker.
Kelly Adamik accepts donations in front of her Vandergrift shop for the Alle-Kiski Area HOPE Center, a women’s shelter in Tarentum.
This is the second year a giant nutcracker will help raise money for a Tarentum women’s shelter.
A 9-foot-tall nutcracker in front of Kelly’s Salon and Gathering Room in Vandergrift will again help to raise money for the Alle-Kiski Area HOPE Center in Tarentum.
Tom and Leeanne Zabinsky of Allegheny Township with their creation, a giant nutcracker.

While Santa Claus and the Grinch can’t be denied at this time of year, it’s the 9-foot-tall nutcracker in Vandergrift on Saturday that will draw residents and pets for photo ops and a donation.

For the second year, Kelly’s Salon and Gathering Room, at the corner of Columbia and Grant, will host the monster nutcracker outside of its shop for holiday photos from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. to benefit the Alle-Kiski Area Hope Center, a women’s shelter in Tarentum.

A crowd pleaser, the nutcracker drew families and their pets last year, helping to raise over $500, according to Kelly Adamik, owner of Kelly’s Salon and Gathering Room in Vandergrift

Word got around town fast last year as it was hard to miss the towering holiday beacon outside of Adamik’s shop in the heart of downtown Vandergrift.

She had no choice. It was too tall to bring indoors.

Adamik is happy for a return appearance to again benefit the Hope Center.

“Nobody has the nutcracker,” she said.

“I can’t believe the ballet hasn’t found out about this and hasn’t taken it down to Pittsburgh,” Adamik said.

A traveling nutcracker was not the intent of the creators of the colorful soldier doll, who custom-made the holiday decoration for the outside of their Allegheny Township home.

LeeAnne Zabinski saw the idea on the Pinterest website, according to her husband, Tom, and asked him to make it.

It took a year for Zabinski to fill his wife’s request, at first refusing to do the job because of the difficulty of crafting all of the round pieces. A compromise was struck when LeeAnne Zabinski showed her husband a 16-inch nutcracker that had many square parts.

“I could build you that one,” he told his wife and proceeded to scale the model up to nine feet.

Zabinski used scraps around the house, including six-inch plastic pipe for the legs and arms.

The head was difficult but not insurmountable: A discount store ball covered over with paper mache served as the face, bringing the faux wooden soldier to life.

Zabinski got his first full season in 2017 when Adamik, a friend of his wife, requested it for the fundraiser for the Hope Center, which she has been doing for six years.

He was surprised by the popularity of his creation.

“I had people say on Facebook they liked it, but it wasn’t like anybody wanted to buy it.”

For Zabinski, who is considering making a second one, it’s all about honoring a request.

Mary Ann Thomas is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Mary Ann at 724-226-4691, or via Twitter @MaThomas_Trib.

Mary Ann Thomas is a Tribune-Review staff reporter. You can contact Mary at 724-226-4691, or via Twitter .

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.