Ho, ho, ho!

Tree lighting ceremony, Santa kick off holiday season

Forget about Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, or Cyber Monday.
The real start to Bayonne’s holiday season was on Tuesday, Nov. 24, when the city’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony and Santa Claus visit were held at the corner of Broadway and 25th Street.
A couple of hundred people attended the ceremony highlighted by the arrival of the jovial, white-bearded man and the switching on of tree lights in front of McDonald’s.
The event featured performances by members of the Bayonne High School Jazz Ensemble and the All Saints Catholic Academy Choir. Activities also included a children’s train ride, sand art, and pictures with Santa.
Rosalyn Abreu attended with daughters Emily, 9, and Lea, 5. Each had her own reason for being there. “I just want to celebrate Christmas,” said Emily. “I’m here because it’s fun,” said Lea.
“I came because I like it,” said Ayanna Melendez, 7. “I want to see Santa Claus like I do every year.”
Jaiden Whitaker, 6, said he wanted to go on the train ride that traversed half a city block from 24th to 25th streets.
Money from Bayonne’s Urban Enterprise Zone funds the annual event, which UEZ Coordinator Terrence Malloy said has been held each year since at least 1980.
“We get positive feedback that it’s a nice event. Our goal every year is to start off the holiday season,” Malloy said. “Of course, the kids love it, taking their picture with Santa. It really has become a local tradition.”
Second Ward Councilman Sal Gullace, whose ward the event is held in, said, “They all look forward to this. I like to see the kids, with Santa coming, and the smiles on everybody’s faces,” Gullace said. “I have fun with these things. People come out, and everybody gets together.”
Council President Sharon Nadrowski said she took her children to the holiday opener when they were young.
Mayor James Davis kicked off the event with a welcome to those gathered on the 40-plus degree evening.
“I want everybody to have a great season, and remember, it’s not about things, it’s about our kids,” Davis said.
Councilman at Large Juan Perez and Third Ward Councilman Gary La Pelusa were among others who attended.

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