PATERSON, NJ - Fingers were numb. Toes became frozen. Teeth were chattering. Bodies were shivering. Yet, there were plenty of feet were swaying to the rhythm of the music in front of City Hall on Saturday evening. It was the annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in Downtown Paterson and almost 100 people attended.
Folks enjoyed food, toys, pictures with Santa, and face painting. Viewers also watched as artists created sculptors out of ice in front of the Christmas tree. Children danced along with Yo Gabba Gabba cartoon characters.
Meanwhile, the Rosa Parks high school choir as well as a Victorian Choir performed holiday favorites, such as the “Winter Wonderland,” for the audience. It may have been too cold to clap, but viewers, nevertheless, screamed to show their appreciation.
Five-year-old Nydia Cos cuddled under a small blanket with her three-year-old sister, Gaby Hernandez, as they waited for the Christmas Tree to be lit up. When asked how she feels about waiting in the wintry weather, she happily replied, “I want to see the lit up tree.” Their mother, Luz Hernanadez, smiled as she saw her two little girls light up with excitement.
“My favorite part is when I took a picture with Tutti from Yo Gabba Gabba,” Nydia said.
While Hernandez was trying to keep her girls warm, Seaneen Kojceva and her co-worker were saving the toys from blowing away. The strong chilly winds were throwing the stuffed animals, the light-up wands, and the other play toys from the stand, which is a part of a store named Better Bargains, which is located on MacBride Avenue.
“I love it!” said Kojceva of the celebration of Christmas in Paterson. “The part missing from this year’s celebration is the parade,” she added sadly.
While she was managing the stand, her seven-year-old daughter, Petrece, was off enjoying the celebration. She happily showed off her face-painting to her mother.
Although she minded the wait in the cold weather, Patrece was just as much excited to see the tree light up.
Towards the end of the night, Mayor Jeffrey Jones danced along with the crowd to popular songs such as the Cupid Shuffle and Gangnam Style.
Like most children, Gaby, Nydia, and Petrece’s favorite part of Christmas is receiving presents. What better way to end the night, then have a raffle giveaway. Three lucky winners received an early Christmas present, an X-Box.
A frosty, cold night became a festive celebration thanks to the Paterson spirit.