SOMERVILLE, NJ - Santa Claus came to town Saturday night where an anxious crowd waited for him to kick off the borough's Holiday Jubilee with the official lighting of the Christmas tree.
A convoy of fire trucks led by a police cruiser led Santa down Main Street before he was dropped off at the Division Street pedestrian mall where he worked his way through the crowd to the small platform in front of the tree, which had been erected two weeks ago.
The weather was crisp and clear for the tree lighting, unlike last year''s Holiday Jubilee. Undeterred the crowd huddled beneath a sea of umbrellas under a steady rain
Santa was joined on stage by borough officials and Natalie Pineiro, executive director of the Downtown Somerville Alliance, host and organizer of the Holiday Jubilee.
Santa's visit punctuated the borough's "Shop Small Business" celebration, which packed the stores and Main Street with shoppers most of the day.
Stores remained open until 9, with good reason - no one seemed to want to go home. Many families and couples stayed for dinner at the borough's restaurants.
Santa hung around too, visiting with the crowds on Main Street before it was time for him to move on.
He got out of town just in time to beat the year's first snowstorm, which is predicted to leave behind a coating of ice and 2-4 inches of snow beginning Sunday afternoon and lasting into Monday.