NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ -- Santa came to North Plainfield on Sunday to grant more than 250 wishes, light a holiday wonderland and wish a Merry Christmas to one and all.
"This is a wonderful crowd," said Mayor Mike Giordano. "I'm so glad that we can put on events like this that the families of our proud community can enjoy together with friends and neighbors."
As Santa arrived at 4 p.m., the lines went out the side door of the Vermeule Community Center and wound around the building into the parking lot. The line lenghtened almost to the Vermeule Mansion more than 200 feet away, and maintained it's length for more than an hour.
At 5:15, Giordano, Parks and Recreation Commissioner Van Dickerson and Santa lit the Christmas tree but included a special treat of icicle lighting draped in all the trees in the area. The crowd gasped as the display took hold, and applauded loudly. One man even chanted, "Santa, Santa, Santa!"
In addition to a day of community fun for the kids and their families, the event collected almost 200 pounds of food for the North Plainfield Food Bank and more than 50 unwrapped presents for the local Toys for Tots effort.
Cocoa and other treats were provided by the North Plainfield Marching Band Parents, and the event was sponsored and organized by the Parks and Recreation Commission, the Mayor's Special Events Committee and Mayor Giordano.