CRANBURY, NJ – With a little help from his friends at the Cranbury Volunteer Fire Company, Santa Claus will come to town a few weeks early to help spread good cheer to township residents and kick off the Christmas season.

On Friday, the North Pole's head elf will make an appearance at the annual Christmas tree lighting in Memorial Park, next to the firehouse on Main Street.

Sponsored by the Girl Scouts, and assisted by the Woman's Club of Cranbury, Santa's Workshop will begin at 6 p.m. at the firehouse, followed by holiday caroling with the Cranbury Brass Band at 7 p.m. at the old firehouse.

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According to township officials, Dorothy Klotzbeacher will lead the caroling.

Wrapping up the evening, Santa will make an appearance and the tree will be lit.

Residents who would like Santa to deliver a gift to a child ahead of Christmas can lighten his workload a bit by dropping gifts off at the firehouse during the tree lighting, and on Dec. 7 and 14, between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.

According to township officials, Santa will deliver one gift per child during the weekend of Dec. 19 and 20, with parents receiving an approximate drop-off time in advance.

The Woman's Club of Cranbury is sponsoring the tree lighting this year, according to township officials.