Arts & Entertainment

22nd Annual Festival of Lights Will Illuminate Memories, Holiday Spirits

The annual C. Edward McCracken Festival of Lights, a beloved holiday tradition for families throughout the region, will mark its 22nd year illuminating the campus of Newton Medical Center on Saturday, November 16.

The festival will again deliver a bright start to the holidays with an evening of children's events and caroling, culminating with the annual lighting of trees along the hospital’s southern driveway by the McCracken family, and a spectacular fireworks show. The event will also seek to honor the memory of a longtime member of the Newton Medical Center.

The trees are decorated by sparkling strings of lights purchased by supporters of the hospital and donated in honor of loved ones. Donors may also sponsor the evergreen trees, wreaths, and other elements of the event. Proceeds from the event will benefit Newton Medical Center.

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C. Edward McCracken, a respected member of the Sussex County business community and supporter of Newton Medical Center (previously known as Newton Memorial Hospital), began the Festival of Lights more than two decades ago with the simple, humble desire to brighten the hospital campus for patients and visitors during the holiday season. The event caught on and grew each year, including the addition of the fireworks show in the fifth year of the event, which by then had become a community tradition. Following his passing, the event was carried on by McCracken’s family and the Newton Medical Center Foundation.

This year, the event will also be dedicated to the late Diane Brennan, who served the Newton Medical Center Foundation for many years, and was a close friend of event founder Edward McCracken.  The hospital and foundation lost Diane this June after a long and courageous battle with lymphoma. Brennan’s family worked closely with the foundation for this year’s festival, in honor of Diane’s tireless efforts to make the event a success each year.

“This event has been the source of wonderful memories for so many over the years,” said Megan Sandow, chief development officer for the Newton Medical Center Foundation, who worked alongside Brennan. “It is truly fitting that we honor Diane, who helped make this event, and those memories, a reality.”

The Festival of Lights event will begin at 4:30pm with children’s crafts and games, including a chance to meet Santa, Rudolph and Frosty, followed by a community reception at 5:30pm, and culminating with the tree lighting and fireworks display at 6:30pm.

Live entertainment will be provided by the Pope John Choir, Newton High School, the Halsted School, and Green Twp. “Glee.”

The event is sponsored by Smith-McCracken & Wood Funeral Homes as well as the Brennan family and the Hazan family. The fireworks display is sponsored by the emergency physicians of Newton Medical Center, Emergency Medical Associates (EMA).

Visitors can support this event by purchasing a string of lights or a fully lit tree. Sponsorships for these and other categories are also available. Attendees may also enter a raffle for a Christmas Fantasy in New York for two, which includes two tickets to Radio City Music Hall’s Christmas Spectacular, transportation to New York City and dinner for two at a prestigious restaurant.

The event will also host a toy drive, to benefit children in need in Sussex County.

For more information, contact the Newton Medical Center Foundation at 973-579-8309.

Additional 2013 Festival of Lights sponsors include:

Fountain Sponsors

·         At Home Medical

·         Atlantic Private Care Services

·         Atlantic Health System

·         Buckl Architects

·         Peter R. & Cynthia K. Kellogg Foundation

·         Hi-Touch Business Services

·         Kindred Hospital

Children's Tent Sponsors

·         102.3 WSUS

·         Atlantic Home Care & Hospice

·         William Sands Finch

·         Peter R. & Cynthia K. Kellogg Foundation

·         RoNetco Supermarkets, Inc.

·         Joseph Trunfio

Holiday Wreath Sponsors

·         Deacon Homes, Inc.

·         Peter R. & Cynthia K. Kellogg Foundation



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