Log In

Reset Password

Children, Santa And Even A Dinosaur All Celebrated Tree Lightings In Sandy Hook Center



Text Size

UPDATE (Monday, December 12, 2022): This story has been updated to correctly identify Joe Hemingway as the person who sang the first verse of "Silent Night" during the December 3 tree lighting event.

* * * * *

The rain stopped (and held) and thanks to some quick work by local volunteers, both trees in Sandy Hook Center were ceremoniously lit for the holidays last weekend.

Residents woke up Saturday, December 3, to steady rain and questions: would the rain stop, as predicted, or would the annual Sandy Hook Center Tree Lighting be postponed?

By mid morning, however, Sandy Hook Organization for Prosperity — organizers of the seasonal event — announced on its Facebook page that the event that evening would indeed go on as planned.

The rain began clearing, and by mid afternoon, although a little chilly, it was clear that organizers had made the right choice. Around 4 pm revelers began heading toward the businesses that line the intersection of Church Hill Road, Washington Avenue, Riverside Road and Glen Road.

When 6 o’clock rolled around, DJ-emcee Gary Shipp had kids lined up in front of 1 Riverside Road, just waiting for a turn at karaoke. Others people filled the sidewalks in front of Sabrina Style and Foundry Restaurant, some spilling into the busy roadway. Fortunately, drivers were cautious around the building crowd, traveling carefully through the business district, at least for a little while.

Dressed in all things red and white, all ages crowded into the area ready to enjoy themselves. The jingling of a pair of Salvation Army bells, rung by Pat Llodra and Steve Bennett, added to the happy cacophony as people enjoyed hot and cold drinks and light refreshments offered by the nearby businesses.

Among those wandering among the lively crowd was a young man in an inflatable dinosaur costume.

What many did not know what how close the center came to have just one tree lit on Saturday night. While Town employees were preparing a few days to check the lights on the original Sandy Hook Center tree, at 2 Washington Avenue, they were reportedly informed by utility workers that the tree had again grown too close to power lines. The Town employees had to stop their work until local volunteers could negotiate with the utility.

Once safety precautions were agreed upon and put into place, work resumed ahead of the December 3 event.

When the 6 o’clock hour was reached Saturday night, Shipp paused the karaoke, welcomed everyone in the crowd, and began a countdown. As the group collectively finished counting, the tree covered in multi-colored lights on the southern corner of the intersection was illuminated for the season.

SHOP member Joe Hemingway then took a moment to remind everyone that the second tree, on the eastern corner of the intersection, was planted in 2013, following 12/14. He sang “Silent Night” before the green and white lights on that tree were then turned on.

As applause and cheers rose and then faded, the crowd began to disperse. Many regrouped and headed toward their vehicles or one of the nearby restaurants, leaving The Glen tree casting its traditional colors and the younger Norway spruce filling the night sky with its lights.

The crowd on the northern corner of Glen Road and Riverside Road responds to the first of two trees being lit Saturday night. —Bee Photo, Hicks
Pedestrians began to use the crosswalk on Washington Avenue, while hundreds of additional attendees remain nearby, shortly after the two trees in Sandy Hook Center were lit for the season on December 3. —Bee Photo, Hicks =
This little attendee was waving at vehicles as they passed her family on the corner of Church Hill and Glen roads. —Bee Photo, Hicks
Even a dinosaur got into the spirit of the season, showing up in Sandy Hook Center last Saturday night. —Bee Photo, Hicks
Crowds grew on all four corners of the four-way intersection in Sandy Hook Center as the clock neared 6 pm. This was the view in front of Foundry Kitchen & Tavern a few minutes before the trees were illuminated. —Bee Photo, Hicks
Karaoke from the porch of 1 Riverside Road was very popular before and shortly after the trees were lit on Saturday. —Bee Photo, Hicks
Steve Bennett and Pat Llodra were within the crowd in Sandy Hook Center last Saturday night, when they did some bell ringing duties ahead of the official planned season. Their hand bells added to the happy cacophony of the early evening hours on December 3. —Bee Photo, Hicks
Comments are open. Be civil.

Leave a Reply