SOMERVILLE, NJ - Take your pick. Virtual Santa on a computer screen, or Santa on a firetruck riding down Main Street, both on Saturday night
The Downtown Somerville Alliance is hosting a 90-minute virtual Holiday Jubilee with entertainment and tree lighting by Santa while Somerville's volunteer firefighters are hosting their annual Festival of Lights parade down Main Street and through the borough's neighborhoods.
Undeterred by the raging COVID-19 pandemic, Somerville Fire Co. 1 is expecting fire departments, rescue squads and police departments from throughout New Jersey to participate in its annual Festival of Lights parade Saturday night, Dec. 5, beginning at 6 p.m.
That's the same time the Downtown Somerville Alliance begins its 90-minute live stream production, including live entertainment and virtual tree lighting by Santa at 7 p.m.
Dave Bowden, coordinator of the parade, expects community-based organizations including Scouts, churches, schools and others to join the parade.
Social distancing and other COVID-19 protocols will be followed, with participants and spectators asked to wear masks.
Prizes will be awarded for the best decorated fire and emergency vehicles, personal floats vehicle, and best decorated houses and/or businesses in Somerville.
The parade comes two days before an executive order signed this week by Gov. Phil Murphy that will limit outdoor gatherings to 25 or fewer people effective Dec. 7.
The four-hour parade will first head down East Main Street past the Historic Somerset County Courthouse and through the downtown shopping and restaurant district before heading through the borough's neighborhood streets, returning to the firehouse and staging area at 170 Veterans Memorial Drive.
From West Main Street the parade will head to Mountain Avenue to East High Street to Mercer Avenue to West Spring Street to Gaston Avenue to Reimer Street to Lori Drive to Lisa Terrace to Lee Way to Rehill Avenue to Lincoln Avenue to Halsey Street to Eastern States Parkway to Putnam Street to North Richards to East Main Street and the firehouse.
Staging and decorating vehicles participating in the parade begins at 2 p.m. on Veterans Memorial Drive alongside the firehouse,
Parade Registration and Waiver can be completed by email (email@example.com).
Event day registration and check-in will be at the SFD Engine Co. #1 firehouse at 170 E. Main St. at the corner with Veterans Memorial Drive.
The DSA is doing its best to keep everyone safe as well as keeping holiday traditions alive this year.
Bowing to the constrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, The DSA has opted to "go virtual," with the annual arrival of Santa on Division Street and tree lighting.
The Downtown Somerville Virtual Holiday Jubilee 2020 can be viewed live on Saturday, Dec. 5 at 6 p.m. at this link: https://vimeo.com/480432047/86f9dcb694 or www.facebook.com/downtownsomerville.com
The event will feature live music and dance performances, holiday wishes from Downtown Somerville businesses, a visit from Santa & Santa's Elf with a list of holiday messages for children and a countdown and live feed of Santa lighting the Division Street Holiday tree, streamed between 7-7:30 p,m.
Watch live holiday performances by:
~Studio L Dance Bridgewater;
~Elite Dance Center Somerville;
~New Jersey School of Ballet Somerville;
~Somerville School Of Rock
The video will also be available after the live showing, so you can go back and watch it at any time.
The 90-minute production will also feature Santa interacting with children whose names were sent in advance fo his visit, a Santa "tracker" and Holiday Jubilee "newsroom," elves and remarks by Mayor Dennis Sullivan and holiday wishes from Somerville merchants and restaurant owners.
"It's a shame we could not put together our favorite event to klck off the season," said Natalie Pineiro, DSA executive director, "but because of the troubling times we are facing with the pandemic we thought it was important to keep the holiday spirit and traditions alive in Somerville.
"The show combines all the things we love about the holidays in Somerville," she added.