BLOOMFIELD, NJ – Santa Claus made a special visit to town Monday evening as Bloomfield hosted their annual Holiday Tree Lighting ceremony outside town hall in Municipal Plaza.

After riding into the plaza in grand style on a fire truck, Santa made his way up the town hall steps as the switch was flipped to illuminate the lights on the trees and municipal building.

“This is a wonderful evening and we lucked out with the weather after getting a lot of rain the past two years on this night, so we’re very fortunate,” said Mayor Michael J. Venezia.  “On behalf of the council, and from my family to yours, I want to wish everyone Happy Holidays.”

Sign Up for E-News

To coincide with the tree lighting, the community kicked off its Martin Luther King Day of Service with a six-week Holiday Food Drive.

“One of the things that I love about our town is that we really are committed to giving back,” said Councilwoman Nina Davis.  “This is our fifth year that we are celebrating our Season of Giving, so starting tonight, we are collecting food items now through Martin Luther King Day, taking collections at the fire houses, library and the civic center, as well as hosting various food drives.”

Attendees at the tree lighting dropped off non-perishable food items such as peanut butter, canned meats and tuna, canned soup and boxed cereal.

“On the Saturday before Martin Luther King Day, we are doing a community-based activity where we are going to be making hygiene kits,” Davis added.  “Our goal this year is to make 1,000 hygiene kits, collect five tons of food, and raise $5,000.”

The festive evening also featured live entertainment in the form of caroling by the Bloomfield High School Concert Choir and the Bloomfield Girls and Boy Scouts.  There was even a sculptor carving a snowman out of a block of ice with a chainsaw and blowtorch.

“I want to thank all our departments heads, and the Mayor and Council, because without their support we would never be able to do the things that we do,” said Michael Sceurman, Director of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs.  “I also want to thank our police department and Director DeMaio, our fire department, public works department and our recreation department staff.”

Santa stayed late into the evening until every child was able to chat and take a photo with jolly ‘ol Saint Nick.  Hot chocolate and cookies were also provided to attendees.