On Thursday, November 29, 2012 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 holiday concert on the steps of Town Hall featuring performances by the Franklin School Chorus, the Washington School Dream Team, West Hudson Arts & Theater Company choir, dancers from the W.H.A.T. Youth Theater Troupe, Teen Drama singers and dancers 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. There were also a number of booths hosted by local groups. The Junior Woman’s Club helped children make “magical reindeer food”, West Hudson Arts and Theater Company presented a special holiday photo booth and Holsman Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation sponsored a holiday game booth.
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. Members of the Kearny High School ERASE club were on hand in various holiday costumes.
The Tree Lighting Festival was sponsored by the Kearny Urban Enterprise Zone (UEZ) and the Mayor and Council. Mayor Santos reminded residents to support Kearny businesses while enjoying the holidays in Kearny.
Photos by Barbara Goldberg