BERNARDS TWP., NJ _ An annual holiday tradition _ the set-up and the lighting of the Christmas tree in downtown Basking Ridge _ will go "virtual" this year at a ceremony planned for this Saturday, Nov. 28.

As in previous years, the Basking Ridge Volunteer Fire Co. is planning to put up the tree on Saturday morning. The Basking Ridge Business Alliance will host the Basking Ridge Virtual Holiday Kickoff and Christmas Tree Lighting on its website between 9 a.m.to noon, with the actual lighting ceremony from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.

Where to view the virtual event

Sign Up for Basking Ridge Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

The event can be viewed at the BRBA's BRholiday.org. This Saturday also is Small Business Saturday, and the BRBA encourages residents to support their local businesses.

The line-up for this Saturday includes:

  • 9 a.m. to noon: The Basking Ridge Volunteer Fire Company's will set up the tree in downtown, and BRBA coupon books will be distributed to cars driving by. The all-volunteer fire company also will be asking for donations during this time. Donations can be dropped in the fire company's traditional boot fundraiser.

  • 4:30 to 5:30 pm: There will be a virtual ceremony with greetings from Mayor James Baldassare, Jr., [update: Deputy Mayor Janice Fields is due to appear in his place], local businesses and the community, holiday music and a countdown to the tree lighting. ​

Performances will be by:

- Phantom Trombone Choir

- Ridge High School A Cappella Choir 

Plus Tony Award Winner, Laura Benanti (Supergirl, Younger), will lead a virtual sing-along of holiday favorites.

Benanti has received five Tony Award nominations and won the 2008 Tony Award for her performance in “Gypsy.” She starred on Broadway in 13 shows including “She Loves Me” and “My Fair Lady.” She has also starred in many television shows including Supergirl, Nashville, Younger and the upcoming Gossip Girl reboot for HBOMAX.  

The community is encouraged to participate in the sing-along and post photos and videos of themselves singing along on their Facebook and Instagram pages. Use the hashtag #BRsingalong​

Some portions of the event will be pre-recorded.

In advance of the event, the BRBA asks families, local businesses and local organizations to send in photos and videos with their holiday greetings by Thursday, Nov. 26. Information can be obtained at BRholiday.org. These greetings will be posted on the holiday website and included during the livestream event.

"Despite the challenges of the pandemic, we wanted to continue to bring the excitement of the holidays and the Christmas Tree Lighting to the community,” said Ryan McCloskey, President of the Basking Ridge Business Alliance. "We are planning a terrific event for the community to enjoy from the comfort of their homes. Also, we hope to recognize our local businesses that provide our community with valuable products and services throughout the holiday season."

For more information, go to www.BRholiday.org.