SOUTH SALEM, N.Y. – The fire truck pulled up, lights blazing, at the Lewisboro Town Park on Monday night, and a throng of youngsters rushed forward, squealing, as if they were about to be greeted by their favorite pop star.
But the truck was carrying someone way more important than the latest music sensation. The jolly old elf himself – Santa Claus – hopped down from the vehicle and was instantly mobbed by his young admirers, each hoping to be the recipient of a candy cane and get a chance to whisper their Christmas wish list into the big man’s ear.
It was all part of the town’s annual tree-lighting ceremony, a custom that began six years ago. The event included a visit from not just Santa, but his entourage of Frosty the Snowman and Buzz Lightyear, as well. There were donuts and cookies and lots of hot chocolate on hand; and of course, the lighting of the tree was the cornerstone of the evening. This year, Supervisor Peter Parsons had the honor of flipping the switch.
“It’s a lot of fun for the kids,” Parsons said of the event. “I say you are only young once, so you should enjoy it.”
Santa, who bore a striking resemblance to Deputy Supervisor Peter DeLucia, said he was impressed with the turnout for this year’s event.
“It’s the biggest crowd I’ve seen here in a long time,” he said, standing in front of the giant fir festooned with multicolored lights. Unofficial tallies of the attendance put it at more than 200 people.
The event also included musical performances from John Jay High School’s a capella groups: The Rolling Tones, The Treblemakers and The Notables.
Also performing were the Brownies and Daisies, who sang "Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer," Dreidel," and J"oy to the World," among other holiday songs.
The Lewisboro Chamber of Commerce acted as one of this year’s tree-lighting sponsors, and President Katherine Dawtry-Monteleone said the group was excited to be part of it all.
“The Chamber wants to get more exposure and raise its profile in the community and get more small businesses involved,” she said. “[Small business owners] have children in the schools and attend these events, so it’s a chance for them to find out about us. Plus, it’s a chance for us to do a good thing for the community at the same time. It’s a win-win situation.”