December 5, 2012 at 8:15 PM
NORTH CALDWELL, NJ - The 5th Annual Joy, Peace and Goodwill celebration took place this past weekend on Sunday afternoon, December 3rd, outside of North Caldwell's Town Hall.
Santa first met with the North Caldwell Fire Department which then drove him up to Town Hall on their fire truck.
North Caldwell Fire Chief, John D'Ascensio, enthused: "It was truly a wonderful event; it's an American tradition to see Santa arrive on the Fire Apparatus. It's an event duplicated across America, and a tradition that has occurred in North Caldwell for over 40 years."
Santa soon joined in with the many holiday festivities taking place. Surrounded by the sounds of holiday music provided by DJ Legendary, families and neighbors young and old enjoyed hot chocolate with marshmallows, cider, and baked goods. The little ones had a great time creating crafts provided by Caldwell’s The Coloring Room, located on Bloomfield Avenue.
North Caldwell Mayor Joseph Alessi enjoyed the festivities and thoughtfully commented on the community event: “This year our Annual Joy, Peace and Goodwill Festival is needed more than ever. Given all of the problems that we suffered last month due to Hurricane Sandy joy, peace and goodwill is exactly what we all need. Events like these are what make North Caldwell special: a gathering of neighbors of various backgrounds celebrating our different beliefs and customs and our common humanity by lighting the Menorah and the Christmas Tree while enjoying food, drink and music of the season.“
Lighting the Christmas Tree was North Caldwell resident, 5 years-old Christopher Flanagan. Mayor Alessi explained why the little boy was chosen: “Last year during this ceremony, 4 years-old Christopher Flanagan suffered a seizure. He was rushed to St. Barnabas Hospital where he was treated for a week. Christopher had 2 more seizures and later it was discovered that he had a rare tumor. In August, Christopher was flown to Texas and underwent a highly difficult and new form of surgery. Christopher was only the 7th person to have this operation."
"As this is the season of of miracles," continued the Mayor, "2 weeks ago Christopher returned to Texas and he was given a 100% Clean Bill of Health; this was truly a miraculous recovery. Who better to light the Christmas Tree than the Flanagan's greatest Christmas present of all time, Christopher. By the way the North Caldwell Fire Department has adopted him as one of their own and Christopher is the first Grandview School Kindergartner to be so inducted.”
Chief D'Ascensio commented, "It was so great to watch Christopher Flanagan light the Christmas Tree!"
Christopher's Mom, Traci Flanagan commented, "Christopher was honored to light the tree this year!! He truly has experienced a Christmas miracle this year! He is blessed to live in the community of North Caldwell, and thanks to the fire department for making so many cherished memories as this last year was tough for him and our family!"
Throughout the evening, the mood was one of fun and enjoyment. North Caldwell’s Department of Recreation Program Director, Jamie Cannon, commented: “We’ve had a great night! The Tree and Menorah Lighting, the bonfire, Santa on the fire truck giving out candy canes; it all was so much fun! We’re so grateful to all who participated.”
The Town Menorah was lit by North Caldwell resident Olivia Lieberman. Cannon commented, “Olivia is one of the Girl Scouts that helped collect toys for the Hurricane Sandy Toy Drive. Her efforts, in addition to the Girl Scouts, helped raise over 150 toys for storm victims this holiday season.”
Visitors to North Caldwell’s celebration were asked to bring with them unwrapped gifts for children age 2 to teens as part of the town’s Hurricane Sandy Toy Drive. Mayor Alessi explained, “The North Caldwell Police, and Recreation Departments, along with the Council and myself have joined with Girl Scout Troop 308 to collect unwrapped new toys for children affected by Sandy.”
Cannon continued, “I want to thank Boy Scout Troop 1 and Cub Scout Pack 1 for hosting the hot chocolate stand. I also want to thank the Girl Scouts who did such a great job helping with the Hurricane Sandy Toy Drive as well as all of the residents who came out with the gifts for the children and teenagers.”
For more information:
Mayor Joseph Alessi
141 Gould Ave
North Caldwell, New Jersey 07006
Director: Jamie Cannon
973.228.6410 ext. 114
134 Gould Avenue
North Caldwell, NJ