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Tradition Triumphs Over Sandy

Garden City’s 58th Annual Village Tree Lighting goes off without a hitch

Garden City’s Chamber of Commerce presentation of the annual Village Tree Lighting was certainly the place to be for residents and Garden City supporters this past Sunday. Sponsored by Astoria Federal Savings, its staff was there to give out candy canes and small treats. This was the bank’s 18th year supporting the holiday festival, in cooperation with the Recreation and Parks Department and Garden City Fire Department. As in past years, this village tree lighting allowed friends and families to come together and enjoy the essence of Christmas and togetherness.

The village gazebo came alive with lights, music, and happy spirits awaiting the arrival of Santa and the flick of the switch to illuminate the tree at the holiday festival. Music was provided by The Five Stone band, which played classic rock and alternative Christmas songs. Garden City High School’s Vocal Jazz Ensemble also performed unique renditions of many Xmas classics directed by Stephen Mayo. Enthusiastic residents of all ages who came to enjoy the afternoon with family members and even pets sat in lawn chairs scattered throughout the village green. Mary Spadaro has been a Garden City resident for more than 47 years, and has always attended and looked forward to this holiday celebration.

“This event is very family oriented,” said Spadaro. “The Garden City community is very close, and has a celebration for almost every holiday.”

As the day went on, the crowd grew, as legions of eager and excited children and parents waited for Santa Claus to show up on his traditional red fire truck to assist Mayor Brudie with the big moment. Kingsley Bear, Kings Supermarket mascot, was also in attendance, socializing and taking photos with attendees.

Hot chocolate and munchkins were generously given out by the Garden City Volunteer Fire Department to the public, along with holiday cookies from Bagelman, Riesterer’s Bake Shop, Kings Super Markets, Dunkin’ Donuts, My Three Sons Bagel Cafe, and Key Food Marketplace.

Director John Wilton, senior marketing director for Garden City Properties, Inc./GC Commercial, expressed his appreciation over the event being a continued success this year despite damaged areas in and around town. He also stated that the annual tree lighting is an important and traditional part of Garden City history.

Mayor Donald T. Brudie spoke before the tree was lit, thanking all the supporters and residents and expressed the gratefulness he feels that Garden City had the luxury of returning to a post-Hurricane Sandy regularity that not all surrounding towns have. The mayor continued to enjoy the afternoon, mingling among the crowd.

Santa Claus easily took the spotlight, putting a majority of the children in a frenzy of smiles and awe upon his arrival. After addressing the crowd to wish all a Merry Christmas, Santa hung around to talk to his many lively fans to answer questions and listen to children’s claims that they have certainly been good, making for a successful afternoon of holiday joy.