Editor’s Note: Check back for more stories about the day, including a volunteer run-down and more pictures.
GLEN ROCK, NJ – There is little doubt Glen Rockers have immersed themselves in the holiday spirit after Saturday’s Glen Rock Holiday Committee all day event that began with Wreaths Across America, a holiday shopping tent, then a tree lighting, and ending with local bands entertaining a happy crowd at ‘Rock the Holidays’.
“It was a beautiful day in the neighborhood,” said Eileen Hillock, chairperson of the Holiday Committee.
Hillock, a long-time resident said she was “honored” to chair the Holiday Committee this year. “Neighbors meeting neighbors and new friends, joy, good cheer and smiles for miles."
The committee is a self-starting, independent group comprised of Glen Rock individuals who were eager to have a holiday celebration. They operate from donations and the work of volunteers. They are not connected to the borough, although the borough assisted with allowing the group to erect a heated tent in the borough’s municipal employee lot from Friday morning until it could be taken down on Sunday.
“A group of individuals who didn’t even know each other came together and formed the Holiday Committee,” said Pat Zengel, a Keller Williams Realtor, and long-time resident of Glen Rock. She is the treasurer for the Holiday Committee.
“Residents and businesses were generous with donations in a way that I’ve never seen before,” Zengel said. “Everyone had the spirit of Christmas in their hearts yesterday.”
While there were probably 100 stories about how the day came together, no one would doubt local volunteers put in hundreds of hours of work, beginning with a January 2019 meeting when the planning began.
December 7 began in the morning with Wreaths Across America, part of a national effort Hillock has been bringing to Glen Rock, now in its third year.
“The day commenced with Wreaths Across America honoring our veterans, on to the Holiday Hoopla vendor and craft showcase (our own mini Bryant Park in Glen Rock!), caroling, Sand and Snowman visits, the wondrous Christmas Tree lighting and culminating in a rockin’ Rock the Holiday in the heated tent at night, it was a truly spectacular day,” Hillock said.
Next was the Holiday Hoopla, featuring mostly local businesses and craft vendors. Additionally, the Glen Rock Chamber of Commerce, who subsidized the heated tent, and the Borough, who sold 125th Anniversary clothing, had their own tables.
Volunteer Rosemarie Barone was on hand to watch over the days events, from electrical outlets placed safely to propane tank safety for the heated tent.
Volunteer Stacey Gilmartin, a talented graphic artist, put together social media advertising and physical decorations for the tent. Her elbow grease helped, as well, when it came to set-up and break-down.
Michelle Torpey anchored a table encouraging those passing through to make a card for a veteran.
At 4 p.m., the crowd moved over to Kilroy’s Wonder Market lot which abuts the Exxon Gas Station at the corner of Rock Road and Maple Avenue, the site of nature’s perfectly placed Christmas tree. With lights donated by a Glen Rock Chamber of Commerce member, and the presence of Santa and Mrs. Claus, carolers sang, the countdown began, and the tree was lit.
With few wanting to have the fun end, they moved back toward the heated tent where the night was filled with song, led by three local bands: Rock Road, Re-Born, and Winter Wrecking Crew.
“The evening was a remarkable success and I have everybody to thank,” said Kerry Schmitt, a Holiday Committee member. Schmitt and her husband, Leonard, put together the evening of entertainment. “There was just an abundance of holiday cheer, kindness and great music. I can’t wait to start planning for next year.”
“Thank you to all who planned, supported and donated to this privately funded endeavor. Like Santa, we’ll be back again next year!” Hillock said.
Editor’s Note: Check back for more stories about the day, including a volunteer run-down.