LIVINGSTON, NJ – Known throughout Livingston as the former editor of the “West Essex Tribune” and a longtime member of the planning board and other committees, Nancy and Richard Dinar, alongside their family, had the honor of officially lighting the Camuso display at the Livingston Memorial Oval on Saturday.
The evening was highlighted by a performance from the Livingston Starliners Dance Group and a train ride for kids, sponsored by the Dinar Family.
“This year, we have a really special family to throw the switch,” said Steve Santola, chair of the Camuso Committee. “The Dinar family is really what Livingston is all about and we are thrilled to have them here tonight.”
Throughout the event, guests donated funds to the Burn Center at Saint Barnabas, which Santola said helped the Camuso family immensely many years ago when the late Ernie Camuso was in the center’s care. As Chief Elf Tom Cooney presented a check to the Burn Center, a representative said it was the center’s honor to take care of the Camuso family and thanked the family for continuing to “take care” of the center today.
For the first time this year, guests were invited to “purchase a penguin,” with funds going directly back to the Camuso Collection Preservation Committee for future use. The hand-painted penguins made by the Camuso elves will have the donors’ names painted on their bellies to be placed around the display and given back to the donors once it is taken down.
Also brand new this year is the 26-foot tree that serves as the centerpiece of the display. After nearly five years of working to return the revolving centerpiece to its former glory, a new tree replicating Ernie Camuso’s nearly 50-year-old tree now sits fully decorated outside the gazebo at the Oval.
“The Camuso display becomes more beautiful every year due to the hard work of our volunteer ‘elves,’” said Mayor Al Anthony. “In a town that I often boast has the best volunteers in the state, it doesn't get any better than this—so many people working tirelessly outside in the cold with the goal of bringing joy and beauty to the holiday season.”
Anthony said the lighting is the culmination of all the hard work that the elves, including Cooney, Santola and dozens of other volunteers, do to make this possible each year.
“With the display right across from town hall, it is a constant reminder of how our volunteers make us such a great community,” he said.
From now through New Years, the Camuso display will be lit each evening at dusk—weather permitting.
On Saturday, Dec. 10, Livingston’s First Responders will sponsor the display’s second family-friendly event, where Kings Supermarket will provide Gingerbread Man cookies children to decorate. A petting zoo and pony rides will provide a festive time as Clydesdale Horses and wagon rides return for the families to enjoy.
Livingston UNICO will once again sponsor Santa and his elf at the Gazebo on Saturday, Dec. 17 at 6:30 p.m. with hot chocolate and goodies available help celebrate the holiday season.
The committee will also host a Menorah-lighting ceremony on Monday, Dec. 27 at 5:30 p.m., where Rabbi Marc Disick and the Choir from Temple Emanuel will help guests celebrate Chanukah.