On Thursday, December 4, 2014 hundreds of families celebrated at the Annual Kearny UEZ Tree Lighting Festival outside Town Hall on Kearny Avenue. The festival has become a very popular tradition and the kickoff of the holiday season in Kearny. The evening began at 5:30 p.m. with a concert on the steps of Town Hall featuring performances by the Franklin School Chorus, the Washington School Chorus, the Kearny High School Quartet, the Nick Fabbz Band and a preview of the West Hudson Arts & Theater Company production of “A Charlie Brown Christmas”.
At 6:30 p.m. Mayor Alberto G. Santos was on hand with members of the Town Council to light the 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.
There were a number of booths hosted by local businesses and service groups. The Girl Scouts helped children make “magical reindeer food”, West Hudson Arts and Theater Company offered face painting, HVAC Services provided a balloon art booth and West Hudson, South Bergen Optimist Club sponsored a magic show. While Santa was in residence, River Terminal Development hosted a dance party on the Jingle Bell stage; Rosa Agency sponsored a performance by Winter “Ice Princesses”; Oasis Painting helped children create a giant mural; Kearny Library had the kids sign a giant postcard to the North Pole; Midtown Pharmacy offered edible (candy) sand art; a Giant Photo Op was sponsored by Century 21 Semaio & Associates; K-9 Corner/ Bone Appetit offered a holiday craft booth and Sajonia D’Light Spa was busy giving manicures to children and mini back massages to their tired parents.
Members of the Salvation Army returned to the festival this year, offering visitors cups of hot chocolate. As always, members of the Kearny Police Department and the Kearny Volunteer Emergency Rescue Squad were on hand. The Kearny Fire Department distributed coloring books, fire hats and provided safety information for families during the holiday season. Members of the Kearny High School ERASE club volunteered in a variety of roles at this year’s festival.
The 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