If you ever have the opportunity to visit my home town, you may notice a few things around here with the name RIELLY on it.
On the east side of town there is a tree lined street with a street sign that reads: RIELLY LANE. Downtown, near the docks, where the Prudence Ferry arrives to shuttle passengers to and from the local islands is a beautiful park. Under one of the park's trees is an unassuming bench with an engraving that reads: JIM RIELLY’S BENCH. Hanging near the entrance of our Town Hall is a large portrait of an elderly gentleman. The senior citizen in the oil painting is my grandfather, James D. (Jim) Rielly.
Jim Rielly was well known throughout our town and much of New England. He was known for his kindness, generosity, and countless charitable acts; but most notably, Jim Rielly was known as Rhode Island’s Most Famous Santa Claus for 62 years. Throughout his Santa Claus career, my grandfather took no money for his appearances. As Santa Claus, Jim Rielly made more appearances in one day than most do today in an entire season; making visits to 20 to 30 homes in one day.
He was featured in hundreds of newspapers, magazines, and on national television shows and received letters from celebrities, dignitaries, Presidents, and His Holiness, Pope John Paul II. In 1979, his name was recorded in the United States Senate Congressional Record as “James D. Rielly, A Truly Remarkable Santa Claus from Rhode Island.” In December 2010, James D. Rielly was honored as one of the original inaugural inductees into the prestigious International Santa Claus Hall of Fame in Santa Claus, Indiana.
My grandfather and I are featured in an upcoming documentary titled: They Wore The Red Suit. As a tribute to my grandfather, I am hosting three private screenings of the documentary in my town as a fundraiser for the film to be entered into Film Festivals in 2013. The event will include a discussion with director Larry Peter, on the making of the film and a discussion of Jim Rielly’s life and Santa Claus career.
If you are in the area and would like to attend any of the screenings, you can purchase tickets online here:
Seating is limited so be sure to purchase tickets early. You can also contact me directly for tickets.
Saturday, March 9, 2013, 1:00 pm
Saturday, March 9, 2013, 7:00 pm
Sunday, March 10, 2013, 2:00 pm
240 High Street
$20.00 at the door depending on availability
If you are unable to attend, but would like to donate to our event, please visit:
I am personally funding this particular event so ANY amount -- even $1 -- would be greatly appreciated!
Thank you very much for your consideration!