Welcoming The Christmas Season

The 19th Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Committee with Santa and Mrs. Claus, of course.
The 19th Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Committee with Santa and Mrs. Claus, of course.

Record-breaking line created for photo-op with Santa and Mrs. Claus

“Did you ever see the faces of the children/they get so excited/ they believe in dreams and all they mean/ including [Santa’s] generosity.” (From the musical, The Who’s Tommy). The radiance from the children’s faces as they kept an eager eye out for Santa warmed hearts as a record-breaking crowd gathered together to welcome Christmas to Port Washington with the 19th annual lighting of the tree at Blumenfeld Park on Sunday, Dec. 4.

After an introduction by emcee Susan Bishop Copeland, the festivities began. The beautiful pageant spoke to the crowd of the true Christmas story, narrated by the pastor of the Lutheran Church of Our Saviour, the Reverend Dr. Charles R. Vogley. The St. Peter’s Children’s Chorus, directed by John Chang, was accompanied by the brass band Liquid Bread and together they added musical magic to the joyful event.

The tree this year was dedicated in memory of Bob Harding and Dereck O’Reilly. Their families shared the spirit of Christmas with the community as they lit the tree together in honor of their loved ones. The crowd joined in together, as they did with the caroling, and counted down from 10 to the tree being lit.

Just then, with lights flashing, a fire truck pulled up with Santa and Mrs. Claus. More than 200 children cheered their arrival and patiently waited in line to let them know that they have been “good” this year and what special toy they look forward to seeing under the tree on Christmas morning.

As she observed the special twinkle in the children’s eyes as they sat on Santa’s lap, Tree Lighting organizer and volunteer Patty Atkins said, “It is fun to be a part of something that people look forward to every year. It’s a great way to celebrate the beginning of Christmas, with everyone you know or maybe don’t know yet.”

“We are so happy to keep alive the Christmas spirit in Port Washington. The Christmas tree in Blumenfeld Park is a beautiful gift for our entire town. I am so proud to be part of this tradition and grateful for all of the volunteers on our committee,” Claudia Rudegeair, chair of the Christmas Tree Lighting Committee, chimed in with a smile as she watched the last child happily hop off of Santa’s lap, confident that the jolly man added his wishes to his list.

The Christmas Tree Lighting Committee said that if anyone would like to help to continue this tradition, contributions can be made to the P.W. Tree Lighting and brought in, or mailed to, S.F.Falconer Florist, 8 South Maryland Ave., Port Washington, NY 11050.