MAPLEWOOD, NJ – Riding a bright red Maplewood Fire Engine, Santa, accompanied by two firefighters, arrived at Dickens Village in Ricalton Square on Saturday afternoon.

Santa was greeted by admirers both young and old before being escorted by Dickens Village co-chair Ellen Davenport to settle into his “little house” and then spent the afternoon greeting children who wished to share their holiday wishes and tell Santa what they wanted for Christmas. 

Throughout the afternoon there was hot chocolate and popcorn available, while DJ Jimmy played holiday music and Jefferson School made two choral presentations. Amelia E. B. Daniels, Senior Children’s Librarian, read stories leading up to the tree lighting ceremony.

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Shortly after the children’s story hour, John James, President of the Maplewood Village Alliance, welcomed all and expressed his and the Village Alliance’s thanks for all the effort of the Dickens Village Committee and the many sponsors who make it all possible. He then introduced Maplewood Township Committeeman Dean Dafis who gave a reading and synopsis of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

James then called on Maplewood Mayor Victor DeLuca to read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, and DeLuca invited all the children to come up to the front so they could see the book and hear the story.

Following DeLuca’s reading, Santa and Davenport lit the Christmas tree for the first time this year, and the little houses were now lit in Dickens Village as well.

"This is a wonderful example of community spirit to get this all together," said Davenport. "People have been coming to see the little houses for about 60 years. Not only is this fun for all, it brings people into the center of town which helps all the businesses for the holiday season.”