FAIRFIELD, NJ — “Fairfield is such a great town,” said resident Tammy Jannicelli as she and her husband, Michael, and their children, Michael and Robert, walked to the Hollywood Avenue park in anticipation of enjoying the Winter Wonderland celebration on Sunday.
The second annual Winter Wonderland event, sponsored by the Fairfield Municipal Alliance Committee (FMAC) and the Fairfield Recreation Department, attracted an estimated 1000 or more guests, who enjoyed event highlights such as an iceless skating rink, the "world's largest" rocking-horse ride, snowman bounce house, trackless train, strolling Christmas carolers, two horse-and-carriage rides, an interactive Christmas ornament for family pictures and photos with Santa. Hot pretzels, roasted chestnuts, coffee, hot chocolate, pastries and cookies were also made available to participants.
“It’s wonderful that the town has this event and lets the residents celebrate together,” said Jannicelli, whose sons, ages 8 and 5, were especially excited ice skate.
Fairfield Recreation’s Busy Hands’ students, as part of the township’s traditional tree-lighting ceremony, sang “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” wearing their antlers and red noses. The children involved included Lilyana, Daniella, Anthony, Gianluca, Liliana, Nick, Liam, Marlie, Drew, Gabriella, Morgan, Adriana, Abigail, Aria, Loriana, Rachel and Victoria.
“Kelly Hricko (a fellow instructor) and I have enjoyed preparing the children for their Winter Wonderland debut and are excited to celebrate the winter holiday season with the families of Fairfield through our Busy Hands program,” said Christine Grasso, Busy Hands’ coordinator/instructor.
Nicholas Foti, a Busy Hands student, said that he loves Busy Hands and loves his teachers.
“Everyone is having such a great time,” said his mother, Mary-Jo.
After the Busy Hands’ performance, Jayden Perruso and Vita Scazafabo, Fairfield Recreation’s 2017 king and queen, sang “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.” With the help of the crowd, Santa heard the singing and came riding in on the firetruck as the Fairfield Christmas tree was lit.
Recreation Director Anthony Pompei and Fairfield Township Council President Michael McGlynn addressed the crowd, giving recognition to all those responsible for making the event such a great success.
The crowd was full of excitement. Four-year-old Madison Manning was delighted to be skating with her mother and said, “I just love it.”
“This is awesome,” said Nicole Miraglia, mother of four-year-old twin boys Landon and Dylan. “The kids are really enjoying themselves, and there is something fun for everyone.”
Lucia Innocent, mother of baby Julian, said, “This is really a great event. It is so perfect for all families.”
Representatives of the Fairfield Education Association PRIDE said that they were honored to sponsor the snow globe.
“FMAC is a wonderful organization to support,” they said. “They bring alcohol and drug awareness and prevention programs to Fairfield. We work in a wonderful community, and this is a great opportunity to see our students and families enjoying their town.”
Michael D’Achille, FMAC member and Fairfield resident, said FMAC tries to make this event better each year and said that participation is growing.
“It’s the best way to kick off the holiday season, and the results of our efforts are all happy,” he said. “This year, there must be over 1,000 people attending.”
Another FMAC member, Paul Bastante, said that he grew up in town and this celebration is a great way to bring the whole neighborhood together.
“Every year, we try to add something different so that everyone can have a great time,” said FMAC member Amar Coubati.
The chestnuts roasting on an open fire was a new addition, along with adding another horse drawn carriage.
The sponsors for the event included: Café - Salvatoriello family and David’s Cookies, First Commerce Bank, AMICA - Amar Coubati, pretzels - Dr. Lenny Russo, Lenny Iannia, Lattimer Realty, Fun Services, chestnuts - Franklin Steakhouse, Fairfield Education Association Pride and DePasquale family.