On Thursday, December 3, 2015 residents celebrated at the Annual Kearny UEZ 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 concert on the steps of Town Hall featuring performances by the Kearny High School Quartet, a choir ensemble of 6th graders from all of the Kearny Public Schools, Singer Tatiana Lima, members of the Next Step Dance Company and a preview of the West Hudson Arts & Theater Company production of “ELF”.
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 so that they could have their photos taken with him. Santa had the help of Mrs. Claus and some special elves who were handing out early holiday gifts.
While Santa was in residence, the merry making continued throughout the park. 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, Kearny Library held a wreath contest, Holsman Physical Therapy offered a photobooth, Plaque Art Creations helped children create their own ornaments, South Bergen Optimist Club sponsored a magic show, River Terminal Development hosted a dance party on the Jingle Bell Stage, Rosa Agency sponsored a performance by Winter “Ice Princesses”, Midtown Pharmacy offered sand art and Sajonia D’Light Spa was busy giving manicures to children and mini back massages to their parents.
Members of the Salvation Army returned to the festival this year, offering visitors cups of warm hot chocolate. As always, members of the Kearny Police Department and the Kearny Volunteer Emergency Squad were on hand. The Kearny Fire Department distributed coloring books, fire hats and provided safety information for families. Members of the Kearny High School ERASE club volunteered in a variety of roles at this year’s festival.
The festival was sponsored by Mayor Alberto G. Santos and Council and the Kearny Urban Enterprise Zone (KUEZ).
(Photos by Barbara Goldberg)