It’s time to kick off the season and celebrate at the annual Kearny Urban Enterprise Zone (KUEZ) Holiday Tree Lighting Festival on Thursday, Dec. 3, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. outside Town Hall on Kearny Ave.
The program will begin with a concert featuring local performers of all ages, including the Kearny Combined 6th Grade Chorus, the Kearny High School Ensemble, singer Tatiana Lima, the cast of the W.H.A.T. production of “Elf the Musical, Jr.,” Teen Drama Singers and The Next Step Dance Co.
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 without a doubt one of the highlights of the night,” said KUEZ coordinator John Peneda. “You can feel the excitement of the children build as we approach that moment when he steps through the front doors of Town Hall.”
The festivities then move to Town Hall Park, where Santa, Mrs. Claus and their elves will greet children (ages 12 and under) until 8:30 p.m. Parents are reminded to bring their cameras for photos. Santa will be handing out holiday gifts and goodies (while supplies last).
The merrymaking continues throughout the park with free events and activities. “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 12 and under unless otherwise noted) include:
• Jingle Bell Stage sponsored by River Terminal Development: Special performance by the snowman-making “Ice Princesses,” a dance party with Frosty the Snowman, and, new this year, a Holiday Sing-Along.
• Balloon Art sponsored by HVAC Services.
• Face Painting sponsored by the West Hudson Arts & Theater Co. (which will also be selling tickets to its production “Elf The Musical, Jr.”.)
• Winter Ice Princesses Meet & Greet sponsored by the Rosa Agency.
• Wreath-Making Contest sponsored by the Kearny Public Library. (Children and adults can also sign up for library cards.)
• Photo Booth sponsored by Holsman Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation.
• Sand Art sponsored by Midtown Pharmacy (which will also have an assortment of holiday gifts and goods for sale.)
• Magic Reindeer Food spon sored by the Girl Scouts.
• Magic Show sponsored by the West Hudson/South Ber gen Optimist Club.
• Spa Fun sponsored by Sa jonia D’Light Spa for kids and adults.
• Ornament-Making sponsored by Plaque Art Creations. And enter to win a lighted ceramic house (value $50). One will be raffled off every half-hour.
• Holiday Safety Info sponsored by the Kearny Fire Department, which will be distributing coloring books, children’s fire hats and more. A ladder truck will be parked on Kearny Ave. for kids to explore with the firefighters.
Food will also be on sale from a number of vendors, including KUEZ member business Domingo’s Bakery. Members of the Kearny High School ERASE club will return as festival volunteers. And don’t forget that Santa’s Sled will be in front of the park throughout the evening for photo ops.
Please note: Kearny Ave. will be closed between Liberty St. and Quincy Ave. throughout the event.
The KUEZ gives special thanks to its sponsors for their generous donations. Visit www.kearnynj.org for more information or like the KUEZ Facebook page.