By CLOEY CALLAHAN
Every year people grab their heaviest coats, gloves and hats to gather outside to see their cities (or towns) tree lighting, however, this year most lighting ceremonies aren’t happening in person.
It doesn’t come as a shock to most, considering the rising COVID-19 cases not only across the nation, but right here at home in the Newburgh area. Being in a yellow zone, nearing the orange zone, most gatherings are prohibited. This year the famous Rockefeller Christmas Tree in New York City also had to switch gears and plan a no public access lighting ceremony.
For 30 years, the City of Newburgh has displayed a Christmas tree on Lower Broadway outside of City Hall for residents to enjoy. The display has been thanks to the City of Newburgh Department of Public Works, who has sought out, cut down, transported and decorated the tree.
On November 13, the city announced that it was beginning its search for the tree, which must be a blue spruce that is at least 35 feet tall. In the past, trees have come from within the city limits as well as from other areas including New Windsor, Town of Newburgh and Marlboro.
The same day as the announcement, they stated that it was already clear that there would not be a live audience for this year’s tree lighting due to the pandemic. They chose to host the virtual ceremony during the city’s council meeting on Monday, December 14.
This year’s tree is from New Windsor and Newburgh’s Department of Public Works picked it up on Wednesday, December 9. It was donated by Mr. & Mrs. Allwood. The tree was transported by Michael Bigg, Jr. and Quality Towing, along with their crane operator, John Ammirati, who has been installing the tree in the City of Newburgh for more than two decades.
“The transport of the tree every year is a group effort and I thank everyone who came out to help. A special thanks to the Allwood family for their donation this year. The tree looks beautiful on Broadway,” said George Garrison, City of Newburgh Department of Public Works Superintendent.
The tree this year was dedicated to former Councilwoman Regina Angelo, who served as part of the City Council for over thirty years, and has spearheaded many of the City’s celebrations in the past.
Before the lighting, Mayor Torrance Harvey announced the dedication to Angelo and the council counted down to the tree reveal.
On December 19, from 12 to 3 p.m. Santa Claus will travel throughout Newburgh on the fire truck, so make sure to see where he’ll be riding.