SUMMIT, NJ - With Christmas only a few weeks away, Summit residents were able to see Santa a little early today as he greeted children at the Summit Area YMCA on Sunday, Dec. 2, during the annual Summit Downtown Incorporated Celebrates the Holiday Season event.  

The Police Athletic League, TD Bank and the World of Rock handed out candy and hot chocolate, the high school choir and marching band performed and Santa arrived via the fire truck from the roof and took pictures with children in the gym.

The event has been taking place in the community for several years; however, last year was the first time it was held at the YMCA. Susan Petrow, the marketing administrative assistant of Summit Downtown Inc. (SDI) said that they decided to make it more convenient for people and have the event close to the tree lighting, which is held afterwards across the street at the Village Green.

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“It ties it all together,” Petrow said. “They’ve (the YMCA) been extremely helpful.”

Executive Director of the Summit YMCA Terri Clinton said when they were approached last year about hosting the event, they realized it was a great opportunity. Being in the center of town and needing a space near the Christmas tree, this was a perfect spot, Clinton said.

She said it’s much easier this year and her staff really enjoys it, as well. One of the custodians designed Santa’s chair and some of her colleagues dress up as elves and Mrs. Claus.

“It’s a fun event because the whole community comes when it takes place,” she said.

Mary Kate Cahill and her friend, Catherine Merritt, were smiling from ear to ear and filled with excitement after they met Santa.

Jessica Ryan attended the holiday event with her children, Colin and Kate, and she said they had a great time.  The YMCA and SDI do a great job and really make it all about the children, Ryan said.

“It’s great. The kids have fun,” she said. “What more could they ask for?”