WEST CALDWELL, NJ — Santa made his first appearance of the holiday season in West Caldwell on Sunday evening to help light the Christmas tree located near the Gazebo at Crane Park.

After arriving to Crane Park via fire truck, courtesy of the West Caldwell Fire Department, and singing along to some of his holiday favorites with local children and their families, Santa led the count down to light the tree, officially marking the beginning of the 2017 holiday season. He also thanked the township for inviting him to join in the festivities, calling the Township of West Caldwell his “favorite place other than the North Pole.”

DJ Joe Garamella provided music as Elvis the Elf entertained the crowd, encouraging kids to sing and dance along in anticipation of Santa’s arrival.

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“I’d like to welcome you all from the mayor and town council to the Christmas Tree Lighting for 2017,” said West Caldwell Councilwoman Kathy Canale. “Happy holidays, be safe and enjoy the season.”

Following the tree lighting, the public was invited back to the civic center for photos with Santa, cookies and hot chocolate.

The public is invited to return to the West Caldwell Civic Center on Wednesday, Dec. 13 for the annual Menorah Lighting Ceremony. Rabbi Silverstein of Congregation Agudath Israel will have the honor of lighting the Menorah and refreshments will be served.