BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - With Christmas only a few weeks away, Berkeley Heights residents had the opportunity to see Santa a little early as the township held its annual holiday festivities at Town Hall Saturday morning, Dec. 1.
The Recreation Department helped set up and run the event for the 19th year and children were able to sit on Santa’s lap, eat Oreos, drink hot chocolate and take horse and carriage rides. There was also a collection for toy donations.
Carolyn George, a longtime resident of Berkeley Heights, is a crafts teacher for the Recreation Department and, along with her daughter and other volunteers, they decorated the courtroom with holiday themes and built Santa’s chair. George has assisted with the event for almost a decade and has enjoyed it very much, she said.
“I love Christmas and I love to decorate,” she said. “We all come together and try to make it as beautiful as possible.”
George said each year the turnout increases and it’s really a great event for the community. She added it’s nice to see many of her students, as well.
Lori and Steve Piazza, who attended the festivities for the third time, said it’s really about the kids. Their children, Julie and Emily, have a blast seeing their friends and going on the horse and carriage, Lori said.
“I love to see Santa,” Julie said.
Lori Nelson and her family go every year and her 6-year-old son, Michael, and 2-year-old daughter, Allison, really enjoy themselves, she said. Seeing Santa and the elves makes their day, Nelson added.
“We think it’s great,” she said. “It’s a part of the Christmas tradition.”