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Tree time! Park Slope kicks off Christmas season with annual tree lighting

Meta!: Park Slope Fifth Avenue Business Improvement Executive Director Mark Caserta wore a Chistmas tree costume to the neighborhood’s annual Christmas tree lighting event.
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It’s a beloved holiday tradition!

Park Slopers joined merrymakers from across the borough to close out one holiday and began the next on Saturday at the neighborhood’s annual Christmas-tree lighting ceremony, which featured fun and games for all ages, according to a dad.

“It’s just a fun time to kind of kick-start the holiday season, especially for families,” said Bay Ridgite Justin Schultz, who brought wife Victoria, daughter Izzy, and son Desmond to the festivities.

Organizers packed the event with holiday flavor that included carols sung by performers with Opera on Tap, a group that promotes its namesake art among the masses; hundreds of free apple-cider doughnuts from the foodies at Down to Earth Markets, which manages farmers markets across the city; a couple of elves walking on stilts; and Park Slope’s beloved kids’ entertainer Bubble Dad, whose timeless bubble-blowing shtick never gets old, Schultz said.

“Bubble Dad is always a big hit,” he said.

Santa Claus even took a break from his work at the North Pole to come out and watch hosts light up the 22-foot spruce on Fifth Avenue near Washington Park’s J.J. Byrne Playground, where the jolly old elf arrived riding shotgun in a 1999 Chevy Cavalier convertible courtesy of Kings County’s classic-car king, Lenny Shiller, the owner of no less than 65 vintage rides.

The collector said the ’99 Chevy is among the least-impressive four-wheelers in his fleet, which also includes a 1924 Durant, a 1934 Ford V8, and a 1954 Mercury Monterey. But between now and Christmas, Schiller plans to ferry Old Saint Nick around the neighborhood in a much cooler, burgundy 1966 Dodge Dart on weekends, he said.

“I try for something close to red,” Shiller said.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Posted 12:00 am, November 27, 2018
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