Newburgh welcomes holiday season with parade and tree lighting

By Alberto Gilman
Posted 12/15/23

The City of Newburgh radiated with Christmas cheer and joy on Saturday, December 9 as the annual Holiday Parade made its way through the city neighborhoods before finally arriving at the city tree. …

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Newburgh welcomes holiday season with parade and tree lighting


The City of Newburgh radiated with Christmas cheer and joy on Saturday, December 9 as the annual Holiday Parade made its way through the city neighborhoods before finally arriving at the city tree. With a brief countdown, the tree was lit and applause and cheers were heard along Broadway.

Holiday floats and decorated trucks gathered together on Saturday afternoon at the city’s Department of Public Works Headquarters along Pierces Road before the start time of 3 p.m. City of Newburgh Police Department vehicles led the way for Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus and Mayor Torrance Harvey in one of the city fire department vehicles. Following behind was the magical land of Who-Burgh, Santa’s Workshop, the Grinch (who had been bad again this year) and Beauty and the Beast, along with other fairytale characters in a magical Christmas sled.

“This parade is an example of all city departments and staff working closely together over the last month or so,” said Councilman Bob Sklarz. “I wish that more people could get my viewpoint from on one of these floats to see the expression of the kids as we throw candy out to them. It’s really a fun viewpoint that shows that we’re connecting the city as a whole.”

The annual holiday parade route was mapped out to cover as many city streets as possible and the map was readily available on the city website for people to reference if needed. The city also designed the Newburgh Armory Unity Center and Delano-Hitch Park along South William Street as a viewing point for the parade for those not directly along the parade route. Christmas music played over the loudspeakers, residents waved at Santa and company and children were able to get some holiday candy.

“Combining the holiday parade with the Christmas tree lighting was a great decision. We expanded the route to ensure we drove through most neighborhoods. I got emotional as we went down Lander Street as I do not remember that ever happening,” said Councilman Anthony Grice. “By far it was the largest crowd for the tree lighting that we have had in years. I look forward to it getting even better next year.”

As the sun began to set, city residents made their way to Broadway in front of city hall to await the tree lighting. Hot popcorn was served along with other snacks provided at the Salvation Army truck. Families with children all bundled up patiently awaited the countdown.

Like many residents in the city, Brian Denniston was happy to be out watching the parade and seeing the people waiting for the tree to light up Broadway. Even with all the festivities and cheer with the holidays, Denniston offered words of reflection heading into the holiday season. “It’s not what’s under the tree, it’s the people around it. That’s what you should be thankful for. Truly, truly thankful for,” he said.

With the city tree officially lit for the holiday season, parents and children made their way to its base to take photos while Santa Claus greeted the children hoping that their Christmas wishes would come true.

“I’m feeling thankful that we can have this because there’s so much going on in the world,” said Marjorie Gaito. “I’m just thankful that everybody’s here. And I hope that everybody’s in good health and it’s just great. Everything is just great and I’m seeing all the people here they’re in a great mood and I’m sure they’re thankful also.”

For the third time together, Walker Adams and his family made their way to the holiday tree lighting and enjoyed the fun and celebration of the Christmas season with their neighbors. “The parade really put me in the holiday spirit. I was really impressed with the parade. Not only were the floats well made, but it moved along at a nice pace. There are certainly more people here than I can remember in the past,” he said. “I think it [the holiday season] brings people together for a common celebration, common recognition of our humanity and the spirit of giving. I love to see people of all walks of life in a diverse city like this coming together for an event like this and I think it reminds us all to take care of each other, and those who are in need.”

Councilman-elect Rob McLymore joined his future council colleagues on the holiday floats this year and loved seeing all the people out watching the parade and joy on people’s faces. “This is a awesome event, looking at all the people and seeing the smiles on their face, the children out here, and everybody is in the holiday spirits and that’s exactly what we desired and what we wanted to do,” said McLymore.

As the music played, pictures were taken and smiles were abundant, residents took in the holiday sights as Christmas is soon to arrive in the coming weeks.

- Photos by Alberto Gilman and Brian Wolfe