Tree Lightings Foster Community And Holiday Spirit
Residents gathered near loved ones and fellow community members to stand witness to three annual tree lighting ceremonies November 30, December 1, and December 2 at Ram Pasture, Sandy Hook Center, and Barnabas Plaza. The events annually begin the holiday season in Newtown.
After following the glow of luminarias to the 34th Annual Ram Pasture Tree Lighting on Friday, November 30, residents huddled near a stage for the start of the event.
This year’s tree lighting holiday celebration was co-sponsored by The Chamber of Commerce of Newtown, Newtown Parks & Recreation Department, and the Borough of Burgesses. Musical performances were offered by the Newtown High School a cappella groups XY Chromotones and Asking For Treble, the NHS Singers, and preschool students from The Learning Experience (TLE). Dancers from Lathrop School Of Dance and Ashurst Academy of Irish Dance also performed as the crowd drew closer to the stage with each performance.
Small snowflakes drifted down in the light of the luminarias as the event began. According to Newtown Parks & Recreation Director Amy Mangold, 1,700 luminaria were on display around Ram Pasture and surrounding roads for the event.
This year, the luminaria kits are available to anyone wishing to purchase one until the end of the year, for $3 each, at C.H. Booth Library, 25 Main Street; Newtown Hardware, 61 Church Hill Road; the office of The Newtown Bee, 5 Church Hill Road; the Newtown Parks & Recreation office, 3 Main Street; and Sal e Pepe Contemporary Italian Bistro, 97 South Main Street.
“Merry Christmas everyone,” said Ms Mangold, one of multiple people who spoke at the event.
After the performances, residents turned to gaze into the dark night until the light of both trees lit Ram Pasture, reflected in the water nearby.
The Trees Of Sandy Hook
Faux snow falls after 4 pm each year, accompanying the Sandy Hook tree lighting, and it was right on schedule Saturday, December 1. Bonnie Fredericks and her son Matthew turned their faces up toward the sudsy substitute that drifted to the ground, mimicking a white Christmas, at the 18th Annual Sandy Hook Tree Lighting. Crowds soon gathered in Sandy Hook Center, where Santa listened to whispered wish lists, carolers led the crowd with a capella songs, a DJ led revelers through holiday tunes — and “Three, two, one!” — two trees lit the night by 6 pm.
Now wearing Sandy Hook’s green and white theme is a newer tree on the corner of Washington Avenue and Riverside Road, while across the street at The Glen on the corner of Church Hill Road and Washington Ave is the center’s traditional tree.
Delaney Mentz (she wants a Minnie Mouse for Christmas) and her mother, Amanda, took their turn greeting the Jolly Old Elf, while behind them was a sea of eager young faces.
Faith at Newtown at 4 Riverside Road hosted a live nativity with llamas and lambs.
Slone Behr found her way to Mary Ann Jacob’s dogs, Calvin and Franklin, who loved the attention. As the crowd multiplied and finally filled the sidewalks by 6 pm, residents got their cameras and cell phones ready to take pictures of festive holiday lights. So many familiar faces enjoyed the Saturday evening cheer again this year.
Hawleyville held its Ninth Annual Hawleyville Tree Lighting and Toy Drive event as darkness fell on Sunday, December 2, welcoming more than 100 attendees anxious to view the three trees being illuminated and to greet two very special guests of honor.
The event is one of two tree lightings sponsored by the Stony Hill Four Corners Business Association, with support from Newtown resident Donna Ball as well as Hawleyville’s and Bethel’s (Stony Hill) volunteer fire companies.
A similar event was held November 17 in Stony Hill, incorporating a highly successful pre-Thanksgiving food drive.
Newtown First Selectman Dan Rosenthal and Bethel First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker were present at both, and during brief remarks, they reminded those gathered to keep their less fortunate neighbors in mind and thanked local police and emergency responders for their service.
Both the events featured performers from Dance Etc, and several of the dancers also did extra duty, leading Hawleyville attendees in a holiday sing-a-long.
Once the countdown was completed, three trees representing corresponding Newtown tree lighting events were illuminated, and as the crowd sang “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town,” led by announcer John Voket, a decorated Hawleyville pumper arrived with Mr and Mrs Santa Claus.
While parents and older children milled around enjoying pizza from Papa Al’s, snacks, beverages, and Ms Ball’s fire truck-shaped gingerbread cookies, dozens of little ones took their seat on Santa’s lap to share their Christmas and holiday gift lists with the Jolly Old Elf and his equally accommodating spouse.
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