- Alberto Gilman
Neighbors and community members of the Towns of Newburgh and New Windsor joined together once again to celebrate and kick off the Christmas season with their annual tree lighting ceremonies. Newburgh held theirs on Friday, December 2 and New Windsor, on Saturday, December 3.
As the sun set on Friday evening, Town of Newburgh residents made their way and gathered at Chadwick Lake Park in anticipation for the town tree to be lit to kick off the Christmas celebrations. The tree lighting and celebration was made possible by the town’s recreation department and Miss Cindy’s Neighborhood Nursery School.
Town Supervisor Gil Piaquadio, Councilman Scott Manley, Councilman Paul Ruggiero, Town Clerk Lisa Vance-Ayers, Receiver of Taxes Joseph Pedi and Parks Commissioner James Presutti made guest appearances at the tree lighting ceremony and talked amongst the gathered residents.
Stepping under the park pavilion, it was transformed into Santa’s workshop with warm drinks and snacks available for families to take while a hot fire in the pit started by Recreation Director Jason Szeli kept families warm during the evening. Christmas music played in the background while children waited with their parents for Santa Claus who arrived on a fire engine with lights flashing and sirens blaring. Santa Claus, along with Mrs. Claus welcomed all those gathered to the park with applause and waves and prepared to light the tree for all to see. As the tree was lit, children with their siblings or parents made their way to the stage were asked what they wanted for Christmas by Santa and took several pictures before heading home for the evening.
On Saturday morning, several rain showers had picked up, but whether rain or shine, the Town of New Windsor prepared to host community members for the annual tree lighting. As the rain stopped in the later part of the afternoon, residents had the opportunity to browse several vendors and try various foods from food trucks on the town hall lawn. First time business owner Angelica Leal, owner of Angelica, joined the vendor tables that day and was grateful for the opportunity to meet many different people and to be a part of the Christmas festivities.
Members of the New Windsor Emergency Medical Services during the course of the afternoon handed out candy and thanked the community members for coming out and celebrating the Christmas season with them. “It’s actually raining on my head as we speak. And there’s still people running around and having a good time,” Pilus said “I’m just happy to see the community come together and spend some time out,” said Spells.
At the Marasco Senior Center, Santa Claus made a special guest appearance and welcomed children to take pictures with him. One by one, children were asked by Santa what they wanted for Christmas. Also making a guest appearance was Macaroni the Clown who hosted a comedy show for the kids before seeing Santa Claus. Hot drinks, handmade crafts for kids and small games were also available for the kids to enjoy.
At around five in the evening, the town residents gathered at the tree near the town hall gazebo and celebrated the holiday season with applause and cheers; and Town Supervisor George Meyers, Councilwoman Sylvia Santiago, Councilwoman Eve Lincoln, Councilman Steven Moreau and Councilman Stephen Bedetti made guest appearances at the tree lighting.
With only several more weeks till Christmas, residents and families can look forward to seeing their town trees lit up and enjoy the lights as the day fast approaches.