The Christmas season kicked off for the Town of Newburgh on Friday, December 1 with the annual Town Tree Lighting at Chadwick Lake Park. Brief drizzles of rain did not stop families and children from coming out to take part in the annual Christmas ceremony.
As the time drew closer for the tree to be lit, families made their way to Chadwick Lake Park and gathered underneath the park pavilion, where they enjoyed hot chocolate and other sweet treats. The annual park fire blazed on through the evening and could be seen from the hilltop.
Underneath the pavilion was the annual Christmas stage, where Santa and Mrs. Claus would sit and greet all the families who were ready and waiting. Festive music was provided by DJ Brian Stylez of Stylez Entertainment who kept the Christmas cheer going that night.
Town Supervisor Gil Piaquadio and Councilman Scott Manley made guest appearances at the tree lighting on Friday night.
“This is really a great event every year. Everyone looks forward to come out. It’s a great time. Extremely well decorated,” said Piaquadio. “It’s really good to see the smiles on the little ones’ faces. It makes it all worthwhile.”
In the background of the celebration, Parks Commissioner James Presutti and his additional recreation staff, who he expressed many thanks and praise for their hard work, helped run and manage the entirety of the event. Presutti was ecstatic on Friday night.
“It’s great to get the season started off real good, and even despite this rainy weather the turn out is fantastic,” said Presutti. “This is tradition and that’s what the season’s all about is tradition.”
Flashes of blue, white and red soon filled the night sky as Santa Claus along with Mrs. Claus finally arrived at Chadwick Lake Park, and both were met with applause and cheers from the town’s families.
Clearing a path to the stage, Santa and Mrs. Claus greeted families and welcomed them to the annual tree lighting and, with voices all together, counted down. With some additional Christmas magic, the tree was officially lit for the Christmas season.
As the night went along, the warmth of the annual fire kept spirits high and many residents warm, like parent Alessandro Viviani who was also waiting for his family to see Santa. “The rain will never stop us. I don’t think the snow would even stop us,” he said. “I’m feeling great.”
For Alessandro, he is grateful to be in a town like Newburgh to raise his family with his wife Elizabeth and make long lasting memories with their children. “I played at this park as a child so it’s amazing to be able to take my own kids here, ” said Elizabeth. “The holiday spirit is very strong here. It’s awesome. It’s fun. They do a phenomenal job here at Chadwick Lake.”
Even for first time visitors to the tree lighting festival like parent Erin Harrison, the celebration was a success for her and she was happy to spend time with her family. People that she interacted with over the course of the evening were wonderful, and she felt a strong sense of community that night.
“I am super excited to be here. I am really excited that it was still going on even though it’s raining. My son is three and a half and he’s just getting into Christmas. I’m super excited to bring him here and get him into the Christmas spirit,” said Harrison. “Having a town do this is like having an extended family. There’s volunteers from the fire department here, there’s people from the town here and then all the occupants. It’s just really nice.”
For the past four years, parent Jennifer Selby has been coming to the tree lighting with her daughter Esme to take part in the annual ceremony. Seeing her having fun and enjoying her time at the celebration amongst people she has known her whole life makes it all worthwhile for Jennifer. “The hot chocolate was delicious. People are friendly. I love it,” said Selby. “I love the town I live in, I’m a big town supporter.”