Kearny will kick off the holiday season this Thursday, Dec. 5, from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., with the annual KUEZ Holiday Tree Lighting Festival outside Town Hall on Kearny Ave.
Please note: Kearny Ave. will be closed between Liberty St. and Quincy Ave. throughout the event.
The evening will open with a concert on the steps of Town Hall featuring the Washington School Chorus (under the direction of Scott Burzynski); Franklin School Chorus (under the direction of Denise Mitchell); West Hudson Arts & Theater Co. Singers; Kearny High School Brass Ensemble (under the direction of Ed Garguilo), and a preview of W.H.A.T.’s March production of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”
At 6:30 p.m., Santa arrives to help Mayor Alberto G. Santos and members of the Town Council light the Kearny Holiday Tree.
“Santa’s arrival is certainly one of the highlights of the night,” said Kearny Urban Enterprise Zone coordinator John Peneda.
“You can feel the excitement of the children build as we approach that moment when he steps out the front doors of Town Hall and joins the mayor to light our tree.”
The festivities then move immediately to Town Hall Park, where Santa, joined by Mrs. Claus and their elves, will be on hand to visit with children (age 12 and under) until 9 p.m.
Parents are reminded to bring their own cameras for photos.
Santa also will be handing out gifts and goodies (while supplies last.)
The merrymaking continues throughout the park with free events and activities until 9 p.m.
“We have more happening this year than ever before thanks to the amazing support from both the KUEZ business community and local civic organizations,” noted Peneda.
Activities (limited to children age 12 and under unless otherwise noted) will include:
• Balloon Art sponsored by Professional Environment Systems. Take home a piece of air-filled art!
• Face Painting sponsored by Professional Environment Systems. Fantasy, fun and fabulous face creations!
• Giant Coloring Mural sponsored by Oasis Painting Co. Kids can create and color the mural, and families can enter an Oasis’ sweepstakes. The grand prize is the painting of two rooms in your home (walls and trim) by their professional staff.
• Crafts Booth sponsored by the Girl Scouts. Create a holiday craft and find out more about Girl Scouting here in Kearny. You can also sign up for a local troop!
• Giant Post Card to Santa sponsored by the Kearny Public Library. Children can add their name to a larger-than-life post card to the North Pole! The library will also be selling copies of the Kearny Farmer’s Market Cookbook, and children and adults can sign up for library cards.
• Sandy Candy Art sponsored by Midtown Pharmacy. Youngsters can make tubes of sand art with a twist — it’s edible! Midtown staffers will also be at the booth with an assortment of holiday gifts and goods for sale.
• Magic Reindeer Food sponsored by the Junior Woman’s Club of Arlington. Create reindeer chow to sprinkle outside for Rudolph and his friends to nibble while Santa is making his deliveries!
• Snowman Photo Cut-Out sponsored by West Hudson Arts & Theater Co. Pop your head through the cut-out and voila, you are a snowman! Fun holiday photo op for the whole family! W.H.A.T. will also be selling tickets to its next production, “A Christmas Carol,” which opens Dec. 6.
• Magic Show sponsored by the West Hudson-South Bergen Optimist Club. An amazing show for the entire family!
• Spa Fun sponsored by Sajonia D’Light Spa. The staff will be offering free manicures for children and mini back massages for adults.
• Frosty’s Dance Party sponsored by River Terminal Development and the Rosa Agency. Forget “Dancing With the Stars”; kids can be “Dancing With the Snowman”!
• Fire Safety sponsored by the Kearny Fire Department. Members of the KFD will be on hand distributing coloring books, children’s fire hats and more. With the firefighters, kids will be able to explore a spectacular KFD pump and ladder truck that will be parked on Kearny Ave.
Also participating in the Festival will be the Salvation Army, providing cups of hot chocolate; The Observer newspaper; H&R Block; the Kearny Police Department, and the Kearny Emergency Rescue Squad.
Members of the Kearny High School ERASE club will also return as volunteers in a variety of roles at the Festival.
And don’t forget that Santa’s sled will be parked in front of the park throughout the evening for photo ops with visitors!
“The Tree Lighting Festival is always a wonderful start to the season,” said Santos. “I encourage all residents to come out and enjoy the holidays here in Kearny.”
The event is sponsored by the KUEZ and Mayor and Council. Visit kearnynj.org for more information or like the KUEZ Facebook page.