It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Shore Road Park!
More than 300 people — including one very special visitor — came out for the annual Christmas tree lighting on Nov. 28 at the greenspace’s gazebo near the corner 90th Street and Shore Road.
Chip “Festival Guy” Cafiero — a member of the Shore Road Park Conservancy, which puts the event on each year — said his very close friend Santa Claus was a huge hit with the 100-plus children in attendance when he joined the celebration.
“When Santa came in, they were all over him. Every kid got to sit on Santa’s lap,” said Cafiero, who added that Santa had to deal with some minor discomforts during the evening. “Santa was sweating everything. It gets pretty hot in that suit.”
But Santa wasn’t the only special guest: the ceremony also featured musical performances by the Xaverian High School glee club, the Guild for Exceptional Children chorus, and neighborhood musician Mary Carmosino. Cafiero praised their performances as one of the night’s highlights.
“They really made it entertaining,” Cafiero said.
But the main feature, of course, was the tree — which Cafiero believes is the finest that the Conservancy has put up in the almost decade-long history of the festivity. The beloved volunteer event planner said that the group chose a shorter and wider tree than it had in the past, which Cafiero said made it easier to decorate and more presentable inside the gazebo.
“I was always saying it should be wider instead of taller,” said Cafiero, who helped erect the evergreen and run the electrical wire the previous Sunday.
City Parks Commissioner Veronica White and Brian White threw the switch to illuminate the holiday conifer, and everyone held their breath.
“It was absolutely beautiful,” Cafiero said.