SPRINGFIELD, NJ- Springfield residents ushered in the season on Wednesday evening at the annual Holiday Celebration hosted by the Springfield Recreation Department. Even the crisp weather did not deter hundreds of residents from coming out to Town Hall to enjoy the night’s activities.

Springfield Recreation Director Adam Lieb said this was his fifth holiday celebration so far, but the event has been going on for decades.

“We usually see upwards of 400 people throughout the three hours of the event," Lieb said. "A lot of people come back year after year because they love it. This is a very traditional event and has elements for young and older people.”

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For some attending the celebration is a tradition, and for others it was their first time stopping by. One life-long Springfield resident said that the fun festivities attract her to come every year and “it makes [her] feel good to see everyone come together.” Another resident who recently moved to Springfield said she was “happy to see the town offer fun events for her family.”

The three-hour celebration entertained its guests with a petting zoo filled with llamas and goats, horse and carriage rides, a Candy Land obstacle course, and a Winter Wonderland band that sung “Baby It’s Cold Outside" and Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.” Elsa from the movie Frozen and a stilt-walking toy soldier made appearances and took pictures with guests. In addition, an ice carver sculpted a penguin using a saw and a block of ice.

Tom Wisniewski from of the Department of Public Works staff revealed that it took about four days to put the holiday décor up in Town Hall.

“It was a lot of work. The décor came from a lot of places. Some of the [pieces] were old and some were new,” he said.

Right before the tree lighting, Adam Lieb, standing with Mayor Richard Huber and other township committee members, thanked the emergency management team, the township clerk, and Department of Public Works for coming together to make the evening possible. Mayor Huber then mentioned to all the attendees that this time of year is a “great time.” He, too, thanked the recreation department for all their hard work.

The celebration finale included the lighting of the Christmas Tree on the Town Hall lawn. Also, Santa descended from a fire ladder attached to the Town Hall building to meet the young children who wanted to take a picture with him.

Along with the celebration, there was also a moment of remembrance. The flag in front of Town Hall flew at half-staff and the community observed a moment of silence to honor and remember former President George H.W. Bush, who died on Nov. 30, 2018, at the age of 94.