The Borough of Woodland Park held its annual tree lighting ceremony on Sunday, Nov. 27. The holiday festival, held at Dowling Gardens for the third year in row, was attended by close to 500 residents. Back to highlight the event was the West Paterson Fire Co. 2 antique truck, lit up with festive holiday decor.

The countdown to lighting the tree was commenced by Mayor Keith Kazmark, with children and their parents gathered in awe of all the holiday decorations. Attendees also were treated to freshly popped popcorn, hot chocolate, cupcakes, and mini candy canes, provided by the Woodland Park Municipal Alliance. Attendees took pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus, and were greeted by Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, and Dominick the Donkey, as well as several council members.

Lights for the tree and decorations were donated by the Woodland Park Business Association and Woodland Park Open Space Committee.The ceremony was sponsored by the Woodland Park Recreation Department, Woodland Park Municipal Alliance, and Woodland Park Business Association. Telephone poles along the park were also lit to celebrate the evening. Passaic County Open Space grant funds made the installation of the poles possible.

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The event was traditionally held at the borough's municipal complex until 2014. It was then moved to Dowling Gardens in order to accommodate the large number of residents who attend the event and to be showcased for those passing along McBride Avenue. It was a free event, however, attendees were asked to donate a new, unwrapped toy for the annual toy drive. All toys collected will go to those less fortunate in the borough as well as other area non-profit organizations.

Those who still wish to make a toy donation may do so at the Alfred Baumann Public Library or at town hall, through to Dec. 12. Residents have another opportunity to donate a toy for the drive at the free annual recreation holiday movie Disney's, "Moana," at AMC Loews Theatre (across from Willowbrook Mall in Wayne) on Saturday, Dec. 3. beginning at 9 a.m. Doors open at 8:30 a.m. and seating is on a first come, first serve basis.

"I think the Recreation Committee, Municipal Alliance and Business Association truly outdid themselves last night," said Kazmark. "You can see it in the kids' faces at the park. Everyone was happy. The characters going around to greet attendees was a nice touch. The local fire department did an excellent job of decorating the fire truck, including Salomone's cement truck."