MAPLEWOOD/SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — The annual tree lighting ceremonies will be held this Saturday in South Orange at 76 South Orange Avenue at 5 p.m. and in Maplewood at Ricalton Square at 4:30 p.m.
Due to Governor Phil Murphy’s recent order to limit outdoor gatherings to fewer than 25 people members of the public have been asked not to gather for the ceremony as they normally would.
At the South Orange event, Village President Sheena Collum and the Village Trustees will be joined by a musical quartet for the lighting. Residents can live stream the entire ceremony on the South Orange Village Facebook page. The Village had already canceled the regular Christmas plans with Santa Claus at the Sloan Street Fire Department Headquarters and the annual parade up to the tree. Although the Governor’s order doesn’t begin until Monday it was decided that it would be best to adhere to the new rules out of an abundance of caution, said Julie Doran, executive director of
South Orange Village Center Alliance.
“We made it a virtual tree lighting so that people can watch from the safety of their own homes,” said Doran.
In Maplewood's Ricalton Square, Mayor Frank McGehee will be joined by the Township Committee for the small tree lighting ceremony. Maplewood's residents are also being asked not to gather as in past years. This year the township is encouraging everyone to drive by or park in the parking lot but stay in their car if they want to watch the ceremony in person.
Earlier that day, from 1-3 p.m., the houses in Dickens Village will be open for viewing, and Santa Claus will be available for photos from a distance inside a fenced in area. At the end of the Dickens Village walk through there will be a letterbox where kids can drop off their letters to Santa, and he will take them back to the North Pole with him.
On December 6, from 1-3 p.m., Maplewood Township will also be hosting a walk-through tree lighting at the Gazebo on Springfield Avenue with live music and dancing.
Social distancing ambassadors will make sure the 25-person limit is kept and masks and social distancing will be enforced at all of these events.
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