It’s time to kick off the holiday season by celebrating at the annual Kearny KUEZ Holiday Tree Lighting Festival on Thursday, Dec. 1.
The traditional event begins at 5:30 p.m. on the steps of Town Hall, 402 Kearny Ave., with a holiday concert featuring local performers from the Kearny Elementary Chorus, Lincoln Middle School Chorus, Kearny High School Quartet, dancers from Next Step Dance Company and more.
At 6:30 p.m., Santa arrives to help Mayor Alberto G. Santos, along with members of the Town Council, light the Kearny Christmas 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 and joins the mayor to light our tree.”
The festivities then move immediately to Town Hall Park. There, Santa, joined by Mrs. Claus and their elves, will be on hand to visit with children ages 12 and younger 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 merry-making continues throughout the park with free events and activities until 8:30 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”, Peneda said.
Activities (limited to children 12 and under unless otherwise noted) include:
- Jingle Bell Stage: special performance by those snowman-making Winter “Ice Princesses.” Also, kids can dance the night away at a dance party with Frosty the Snowman or join in a Holiday Sing-Along.
- Face Painting: Fantasy, fun and fabulous face creations.
- Winter Ice Princesses Meet & Greet: Stop by for a meet-and-greet and photo with the beautiful winter ice sisters following their performance on the Jingle Bells Stage.
- Meet the Nutcracker: Take photos with the iconic Nutcracker character.
- Balloon Art: Take home a piece of air-filled art.
- Ornament Making: Make a beautiful, custom ornament for the tree.
- Holiday Photo Booth: Have fun in the holiday-themed photo booth and bring home a festive memory.
- Holiday Sand Art: Kids can make holiday trees with sand art.
- Magic Reindeer Food: Make reindeer food to sprinkle outside for Rudolph and friends while Santa makes his deliveries.
- Magic Show: A magic show for the whole family.
- Holiday Ornament Craft: Children and adults can also sign up for library cards and take home free books, compliments of the Kearny Public Library.
- Holiday Safety Information, sponsored by the Kearny Fire Department: Members of the KFD will be on hand distributing coloring books, children’s fire hats and more. A KFD pump and ladder truck will also be parked on Kearny Ave., which kids can explore with the firefighters.
Food will be on sale from a number of vendors. Members of the Kearny High School ERASE club will also return as volunteers in a variety of roles at the festival. Santa’s Sled will be parked in front of the park throughout the evening for photo ops with visitors.
During the festival, Kearny Ave. will be closed between Liberty St. and Quincy Ave. The event will be held, rain or shine.
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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.