DENVILLE, NJ-- Many people see the official beginning of the holiday season when Santa arrives on his sleigh at the Herald Square Macy's in the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Denville kicked off the holiday season in style over the weekend with annual events aimed to bring neighbors together and spread some holiday cheer.
On Friday Nov. 27, the town came together for the Chamber of Commerce's Open House event. The open house provided retailers and the public a chance to get together for a fun evening filled with music, downtown lights, and activities. Many retailers had activities for the kids which included ornament making, santa hats, and free pastries. The weather seemed to play a big factor, Mayor Andes saying it could very well have been the warmest open house Denville has had.
"There was an amazing crowd on the warmest Open House night that I can remember. The entertainment was terrific, the fellowship was wonderful and the shops were full."
Those who strolled along Broadway were treated to demonstrations from karate studios. Danceworks also presented a holiday themed dance, while many children enjoyed the petting zoo and carriage rides. The laughter of children was heard throughout downtown, while many recent Knolls grads were seen getting together with their friends for the first time since being away at college. Parents were mingling with friends and the warm atmosphere kept the downtown party light and fun. Mayor Tom Andes lit a small Christmas tree and officially welcomed the start to the holiday season in Denville.
On Saturday, Nov. 28, the Denville Rotary took their turn at beginning to celebrate the upcoming holiday season. The Denville Rotary annually holds "Santaland". Santaland is located behind Chase Bank on Diamond Spring Rd. The area gives residents a chance to enjoy Christmas lights and feel like a kid again. Mayor Andes was once again present to light the Santaland Christmas Tree. Mayor Andes thanked the Rotary for their work through the years, but kept his words short.
"For 55 years the Denville Rotary has hosted Santa at Santa Land. Each year the displays get better and better. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from all of us in Denville," Andes said as he flipped the switch to light the Santaland tree.
On Sunday, Nov. 29, the annual Denville Holiday Parade kicked off at 2:00 p.m. Sister Johnice Thone served as honorary Grand Marshall, while many of the popular groups in town marched down Broadway in front of a massive crowd. Denville's Mayor and Council joined in on the fun, waving and throwing out candy to the children who lined the streets.
The Chamber of Commerce creates a theme for the annual celebration. The theme this year was centered around fun and games during the holidays. Many of the floats that came down Broadway were decked out in religious themes like live nativity scenes. For the Denville Girl Scouts, every troop was dressed as a different board game, from Twister to Candy Land.
Mayor Tom Andes was pleased with the turnout, but was happy to see Denville having a wonderful time together.
"The weather was perfect and the crowd was 5 deep along Broadway. It was great to see the community come together to kick off the Holidays Season. Everyone had a wonderful time. It was a wonderful Denville Day," Andes said.
As the children collected candy that was thrown from the Morris Knolls Varsity Club to dancing around to the holiday music that was played by the Morris Knolls Marching Band, the atmosphere at the parade was eccentric and filled with laughter from young and old. The highlight in every eye was at the end of the parade when Santa himself came in on the back of the Denville Fire Department old time engine.
"The parade had a massive turnout. I think it went great," Councilman elect John Murphy said as he came down Broadway.
The holiday season is officially underway in Denville and around the world.