BOONTON, NJ - For many, the moment Thanksgiving is over, the real fun begins with Christmas. But even before then, holiday preparations take place. Some of those individuals who are eager to celebrate Christmas, while doing their civic duties, are the men and women of the local fire departments of Montville, Pine Brook and Towaco.
Recently on Nov. 30, after consuming what’s left of their turkey leftovers, township firefighters partook in the 26th annual Boonton Firemen's Christmas Parade. This event has not only been an annual tradition for Boonton firefighters, but for several fire departments, from Montville, Boonton Township, Mountain Lakes and Parsippany-Troy Hills.
“The only word that truly defines participating in this parade is simply fun,” said Pine Brook assistant fire chief Donald Walter.
Montville and Pine Brook fire trucks rode from Upper Plane Street, through Main Street, and finally to Santa Land, at the intersection of North Main Street and Highland Avenue. Along this path, over 2,000 kids and parents cheered them on, especially as township firemen marched on foot and handed candy to spectators.
Township fighters not only marched alongside other fellow firemen, but also local charities and organizations like the Boonton Elk’s Lodge, the Boonton Kiwanis First Aid Squad, The Seeing Eye, North Star Dog Rescue, boy and girl scout troops, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel School, and music groups like the Madison High School Marching Dodgers, the Denville String Band and the Harmony Senior Drum Corp.
“The Boonton Christmas parade is a fun thing to get into the holiday spirit,” said firefighter Lina Coleman, who just joined the Montville fire department six months ago. “We’re all just one big family and I’m looking forward to the rest of the holiday fun that follows it.”
Once the march was done, township firefighters even partook in the festivities at Boonton’s Santa Land, where various activities occurred, including face painting, train and pony rides, petting zoo, toys raffles, caroling, hot dogs, cookies, and hot chocolate. They were also happy to see Santa Claus ride in on one of the Boonton fire trucks and assist in giving out stuffed toys to children.
“We enjoy being part of this holiday event every year,” said Jim Longobardi, deputy fire chief of the Montville Fire Department. “It’s just nice to see everyone together in a family-fun atmosphere.”
And Boonton residents were happy to see so much participation in this year’s holiday parade, from Montville firemen and other departments.
“We were thrilled with the support leading up to the big day and the turnout at the parade and festivities to follow,” said Amanda Cosentino, a Boonton resident who co-chaired the parade with her mother Theresa Corigliano. “Thank you to all who donated, volunteered, and supported the Boonton Fire Department in order to make the 26th annual Christmas Parade a success! It was such an incredible day that was enjoyed by so many. There is no better way to kick off the holiday season than this special tradition here in Boonton, New Jersey!”
And as we speak, township fire fighters continue the holiday spirit back in their hometown. Last Thursday, at the Montville Township Municipal Building, about 300 kids and parents got to see Santa Claus and Frosty the Snowman ride in on township fire trucks during the annual tree lighting ceremony.
“All these holiday events bring good morale for all fire departments as we come together,” said Jim Schmitt, Pine Brook’s fire chief, who has been with his department for 43 years. “It’s always a good thing for the whole Montville community. And for us, it’s very rewarding.”
Later this month, township firefighters intend to keep the holiday spirit going. On Dec. 21, Montville and Towaco Fire Departments will be conducting their Santa Run in their necks of the woods. The following day, Pine Brook will then transport Santa around their neighborhood.
On Dec. 22, the Towaco Volunteer Fire Department plans to team up with the Montville PBA Local 140 for their annual holiday toy drive. The drop-off locations this year will be at the Public Safety Building, located on 360 Main Road, and the Towaco Fire Department Station on 27 Whitehall Road.
To learn more about the fire departments of Montville Township, visit the municipal website HERE.
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