MAPLEWOOD, NJ - Rudolph was off-duty, so Santa and Mrs. Claus arrived at Dickens Village in Ricalton Square by Maplewood fire engine at about 1 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 2. After being greeted by admirers both young and old, they got settled in their "little house," and then greeted each child one-by-one who wished to visit and share their holiday wishes. In addition to visiting Santa, the children were able to view the ten little houses which comprise Dickens Village, where the docents were local children.
During the afternoon hot chocolate and bagged popcorn were available, with DJ Jimmy playing holiday music. From 3 p.m .to 4 p.m., Maplewood Library's children’s’ librarian Amelia Butler read stories, followed by John James, President of the Maplewood Village Alliance, welcoming all and introducing Sarah Lester, Maplewood Library Director. Lester read a synopsis of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.
James then called on Maplewood Mayor Vic DeLuca to read 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. Before reading, DeLuca introduced Township Committee members Nancy Adams, Frank McGehee, Greg Lembrich and Committeeman-elect, Dean Dafis. DeLuca asked Dafis, as “the rookie," to hold the microphone while he read. DeLuca encouraged all the children to come to the front so they could see the book and hear the story.
After DeLuca's reading the Christmas tree was lit for the first time this year, and the lights are now on in the Dickens Village little houses.
The co-chairs of Dickens Village are Rosetta Weiser and Ellen Davenport, who is also a former Maplewood mayor of Maplewood. "This is a terrific example of community spirit to put this all together," said Davenport. "People have been coming here for almost 60 years to see the little houses. It’s a fun time for all, and brings people to the center of town where all the businesses need them for the holiday season."