ELIZABETH, NJ – Fourth Ward resident Gloria Rodriquez thinks that visits to Santa aren’t just for children. She plopped her dog, Beauty, onto to Santa’s lap and got out her camera, just like all the other parents.

“She is my baby,” said Rodriquez by way of explanation.

A lot of area residents brought their babies to Wilson Park at Sherman Avenue for the Fourth Ward tree lighting, the second of the season, December 15. While waiting anxiously for Santa’s arrival, the children helped the Senior Choir from the O’Donnell-Dempsey Community Center sing Christmas carols under the direction of recreation director Jessica Martinez. They then helped Mayor J. Christian Bollwage count down to the tree lighting.

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“It is an honor to be able to host this Christmas tree lighting to promote faith, community, and family during this season,” said Fourth Ward Councilman Carlos Cedeño.

While the focus may have been on children, the tree lighting was an opportunity for neighbors to gather and share some holiday cheer. It was also a time to reflect on the good things. Said Del Payne, who described himself as Councilman Cedeño’s loyal volunteer/helper. “The Councilman is doing a terrific job, and we are so happy to have him. We are grateful for Mayor Bollwage’s support, along with Council President Patricia Perkins-Auguste and the other seven Council members. They are doing a terrific job.”