Q: Where Do They Get Those Big Scissors for Ribbon Cuttings?

A: For a ribbon-cutting for the Garrison School’s new $50,000 playground, the Garrison Children’s Education Fund bought its 25-inch scissors on Amazon for $30, says Jen Colandrea, the fund’s vice president and a former professional fundraiser who says big scissors have long been a part of her life. For a ribbon-cutting at the new Beacon solar farm, BQ Energy borrowed its scissors from the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce, according to the energy firm’s managing director, Paul Curran.

Garrison School Superintendent Laura Mitchell with the giant scissors (Photo by Brian Tormey)

“What is a Chamber without a sharp pair of cosmic scissors?” asked Frank Castella Jr., president of the Dutchess group. “We have a stockpile of sheers in many shapes, styles and colors because there have been occasions when we cut multiple ribbons at once or coordinate the scissor handles and ribbon to suit the organizational colors.” They are brought to ceremonies in a guitar case, he said, and those assigned to cut are encouraged to practice first.

There is enough demand for ceremonial scissors that several companies specialize in them. At the top end of the market, Specialty Design & Manufacturing of Wisconsin sells a 5-pound, 38-inch model for $200, and Golden Openings — “the only company with 20 years of grand-opening and ribbon-cutting experience” — has a 40-inch working pair for $209. The company’s founder, Kimberly Baeth, quit her job at a Chamber of Commerce in Minnesota in 1997 to get into the business and has since expanded into ceremonial shovels (for groundbreakings) and giant-scissor display stands.

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