NEWTON, NJ – Residents in the Town of Newton packed the front of the municipal complex on Monday night to enjoy the town’s annual Christmas Tree Lighting. In spite of cold temperatures, the atmosphere was filled with warmth, and smiles.
“I want to wish you all the joys of the holiday season,” said Town of Newton Town Manager, Thomas S. Russo, Jr., as he welcomed the crowd from the podium in front of the Municipal Building Entrance.
Russo introduced members of the Newton Town Council, including mayor Sandra Diglio, and council members deputy mayor Joseph Ricciardo, councilman Kevin Elvidge, councilman Dan Flynn, and councilwoman Kristen Becker, who were all present for the festivities.
“I’d like to give everyone a round of applauds,” he added, not only recognizing those directly involved with the tree lighting, including the council, DPW, the recreation department and recreation commission, the fire department, art teachers Kathy Thurston and Kate Delvecchio, Little Miss Newton Averi Dodd, Little Mr. Newton James Detwiller, Miss Newton Ashley Iliff, Suzie Givone And Terri Oswin, and the Newton High School Honors Choir.
Additionally, Russo recognized the Newton Boys High School Soccer Team, the 2012 State Champions, and the entire crowd broke into cheers.
Prior to the tree lighting, the honors choir, directed by Butch Diminico, sang several selections including, “We Wish You A Merry Christmas,” “Jingle Bells,” and “Silent Night.” As the music of the choir floated on the air, children and their parents warmed up with hot cocoa, enjoyed cookies, and selected ornaments brought over by Thurston, on behalf of the Merriam Avenue School, and Delvecchio, from the Halsted Middle School.
Among them were ornaments of all shapes and sizes, as well as paper chains, to decorate the tree.
“We’ve been focusing on it [creating ornaments] for about two weeks,” said Thurston. “Right after Thanksgiving, we jumped into it.”
Thurston said fourth graders made 3D ornaments, and Halsted Students, grades six through eight, made ornaments as well.
A few students came over to tell Thurston they had found ornaments they had made.
“It’s amazing when they can find their own,” Thurston said.
One of the students from Halsted pointed out a black snowflake towards the top of the tree.
“It’s the middle school,” Delvecchio smiled, and added, “It’s all about creativity.”
In March, Delvecchio said student artwork would be featured at the Sussex County Arts and Heritage Council’s Gallery on Spring Street for a Youth Art Show.
“They did a nice job decorating the tree,” said Russo of the evening’s efforts in transforming the tree in the front of the building to its newly adorned look.
On another decoration front, Russo pointed to the senior citizens bus, which was driving town seniors around Newton, to find the best decorated home in town. Russo said the winner would be awarded at the January meeting with a gift card for their holiday spirit.
“I hear something,” Russo said in an animated manner, while in earshot of Newton’s children still around the tree. “I’m not sure what it is but I hear something.”
The fire sirens blared as Tower 804 arrived in front of the municipal building, and Santa Claus hopped off.
“Ho! Ho! Ho!” Santa exclaimed, as he crossed Spring Street, and was greeted by exciitedly waiting children.
“Has everyone been good?” he asked as he handed out candy canes.
Santa Claus helped to light the tree with Diglio, inspected the ornaments, and then spent the remainder of the time posing for photos with children.
“You’re on the good boy list,” he told one child who waited to speak to Old Saint Nick.
Santa Claus’ next appointment before Christmas in the Town of Newton is on Saturday, December 22, when the Newton Fire Department hosts the 7th Annual “Operation Santa.” Residents can have Santa deliver a gift to their child(ren) for a donation of $10 for the first child, and $5 for each additional child. Parents can drop off the gifts at the #2 firehouse on Woodside and Lawnwood Avenues, on December 18 or 19 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Registration forms must be returned to the Newton Fire Department by Friday, December 14. For more information click here, or call firefighter Jason Miller at (973) 383-4746.
One of the other holiday festivities is Holiday Caroling on Spring Street, sponsored by the Greater Newton Chamber of Commerce, and The New Jersey Herald, on Friday, December 14. Attendees are asked to gather at the gazebo in the square at 6:30 p.m., and carol from 6:45 p.m to 8:00 p.m. There will be refreshments at the Fire Museum at the conclusion of caroling.
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