Popular Town-Wide Holiday Tradition Continues
On Thursday, December 1, 2011 hundreds of families celebrated at the Annual Kearny UEZ Holiday Tree Lighting Festival outside Town Hall on Kearny Avenue. The festival has become a popular town-wide tradition and the kickoff of the holiday season in Kearny. The evening began at 5:30 p.m. with a lively and eclectic holiday concert on the steps of Town Hall. Visitors were treated to the sounds of music and chorus from Mater Dei Academy, Franklin School and Washington School, a performance by the Teen Drama group and the return of Stonehenge, a group of talented young local musicians.
At 6:30 p.m. Mayor Alberto G. Santos was on hand with members of the town council to light up the Kearny Holiday Tree – and herald the arrival of Santa Claus. Children were invited to visit with Jolly Ol’ St. Nick in Town Hall Park. Santa had the help of Mrs. Claus and some special elves who were handing out early holiday gifts.
While Santa was in residence, children also enjoyed face painting, balloon making and magic shows. Costumed characters were also on hand including Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer and the Gingerbread Man. Members of the Salvation Army returned to the festival this year, offering visitors cups of warm hot chocolate. Also once again participating in the event were members of the Kearny Police and Fire Departments as well as the Kearny Volunteer Emergency Rescue Squad, who provided various safety demonstrations for families during the holiday season.
The Tree Lighting Festival was sponsored by the offices of Mayor Santos and the Kearny Urban Enterprise Zone (UEZ). Mayor Santos reminded residents to support Kearny businesses while enjoying the holidays in Kearny. To facilitate parking during the holiday season, all curbside meter parking is free from December 9th through December 26th. Parking is also available at the Chestnut Street lot behind Mandee’s, the Kearny Avenue lot directly across from Mandee’s, and the Kearny Avenue lot directly across from the Oh Calamares restaurant.
Photos by Barbara Goldberg