Today, Vaillancourt Folk Art (VFA) is one of America's last remaining Christmas ornament and collectibles makers. Unlike most Christmas collectibles, which are manufactured overseas, Vaillancourt chalkware figures are still made by hand at the VFA studio in Sutton, Mass.
Visitors can tour behind-the-scenes as artists hand-paint more than 300 different versions of Santa Claus and Father Christmas figures.
Each year, Judi Vaillancourt designs a special chalkware Santa that is painted throughout the year, with a portion of the proceeds donated to the Starlight Children’s Foundation to purchase “Fun Centers” for local pediatric units, this piece has become one of the best sellers from the Vaillancourt Chalkware collection.
Whether it’s because of the good will or purely artistic design, the Starlight Santa has often been the first piece to start a Vaillancourt collection. Whether a die-hard collector or casual consumer, the Starlight Santa is sure to please all.
Each year collector’s line up (some spending the night in order to be first) to get the lowest production numbers available. Those in attendance, within the order they arrive, get to choose from the hundreds of Santas painted and make their personal choice their number. Orders made on-line and over the phone will get the lowest number available once in-store customers have made their choices.
Like all Starlight Santas, this year’s Starlight will remain in production until it is retired on Christmas Day—never to be produced again.
The Starlight Children’s Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping seriously ill children and their families cope with pain, fear and isolation through entertainment, education and family activities.
A “Fun Center” is a mobile entertainment unit containing a flat-screen television, DVD player and Nintendo system. Whether hospitalized children are nervously awaiting surgery, sitting restlessly during a long treatment or lonely in their hospital room, the Fun Center helps them cope by providing hours of fun and distraction. Fun Center sponsorship is currently $4,250
which includes all the costs of the unit and maintenance for the life of the Fun Center by Starlight Children’s Foundation staff.
Patrick and Nancy with Gary and Judy Vaillancourt from Vaillancourt Chalkware.