SPRINGFIELD, NJ — In a festive kickoff to an unusual celebratory season, members of the Springfield Township Committee and Springfield Recreation Department came together on Wednesday night to light the tree on the front lawn of town hall, a gesture meant to usher in the holidays in town.

Although the holiday season is traditionally celebrated in Springfield with a major kickoff event centered around the tree lighting, this year's traditional ceremony was curtailed and eventually canceled as a result of social distancing measures in place at the state level to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Previous holiday celebration coverage from TAPinto

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With no proper celebration on the table, the township responded by instead having a more measured and subdued ceremony over Facebook live, where officials made short remarks before flipping the switch to light the tree and bring in the holidays.

Springfield Recreation Director Adam Lieb spoke about the change in plans, and said that while he and the rec department where disappointed the ceremony could not go on as originally planned, he was happy to see the township make hay out of a bad situation in a different form of ceremony.

"[During] the holiday season here in Springfield, we bring everybody together for a number of events," Lieb said. "This is really our biggest and our most favorite of the year, so it was disappointing that we couldn't do it in person. But the ability to stream it to people's Facebook page was really the next best thing. People are viewing school, work, worship online, so why not the township tree lighting, and I think it went very well tonight."

Mayor Chris Capodice echoed Lieb's thoughts and said the lighting showed that in the face of an uncertain year, there was still happiness and joy to be found in town.

"I think we are a resilient and adaptable community," Capodice said. "To try to find the moments of happiness, the moments of joy in an environment such as this, at a time such as this, is one of the things I love about this town. Was this what everybody wanted, of course not. But to be able to provide this type of celebration, these types of moments to make this year as memorable as possible in a positive way for our community [is good]."

He continued, "We even have a dozen cars out here, that just showed up, just to see the lights go on, and I think that speaks volumes. It's just something we were very fortunate and lucky to have done."

Capodice also thanked Lieb and the DPW for helping to set up, along with Joe and Tracy Voorhees, for filming on Facebook live.