A Joyful Christmas Tree Lighting

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The excitement seeing Santa arrive.
The excitement seeing Santa arrive.

With a brisk nip in the air, the setting was staged perfectly on Friday, Dec. 2, at the heart of Manhasset. The excitement was palpable as the residents gathered on Mary Jane Davies green by the gazebo, the unofficial town square, for the official Christmas Tree lighting. Families came from the east, west, north and south with children leading the way to the site. Carols played, summoning young and old alike, all children at heart for this special occasion and waiting for the first glimpse of Santa. Click here to see coverage of this event from PATV.

With nutcrackers flanking the park, veterans at the ready and lovely hot chocolate and hot coffee sponsored by Folger Coffeehouse Coffee, hundreds of neighbors and friends chatted animatedly waiting for the program to begin. Introductions were made by Jill Weber, the commission of parks, and the American Legion Post #304 opened the ceremony followed with the blessing from Pastor Marc Herbst of the Church of Our Saviour Lutheran. Adding a bit of brass was a musical performance by the Manhasset High School Brass Choir under the direction of Randy Knudsen, who intensified the holiday spirit with wonderful melodies of the season.

Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Judi Bosworth and Councilwoman Anna Kaplan warmly greeted their constituents and shared the joy and excitement of the evening with the crowd. Special thanks to the elementary school art teachers at St. Mary’s, Munsey Park and Shelter Rock, who encouraged their students to create works of art. Nancy Morris of the Manhasset Chamber of Commerce eased the suspense of the crowd and introduced the winners of the Manhasset Chamber’s Poster Contest. There were cheers for all who participated in the contest as well as the winners for the artwork that was hung with care in the windows of Manhasset stores on Plandome Road.

Then three, two, one and in a burst of light, Manhasset’s Christmas tree was lit. In the background, the sounds of firetrucks filled the air and the crowd turned its attention to the approaching vehicles coming down Plandome Road affixed with the jolly old elf himself atop. “Ho, ho, ho!” said Santa. “Merry Christmas,” he shouted as he waved the crowd gathered around. As quickly as he came, he was off with the hopes of more to come.

Manhasset Chamber Of Commerce Poster Contest Winners

Kindergarten
1. Charles Cafasso
2. Nicholas Dessi
3. Chris Cleiusniek

First grade
1. Sammy Russo
2. Taylor Ashenberg
3. Gray Braddock

Second grade
1. Zeina Sebati
2. Megan Fox
3. Amalia Colombus

Third grade
1. Maria Robitis
2 . Anna Kosciusko
3. Jessica Strassberg

Fourth grade
1. Gabriella Waltos
2. Sarah Weigand
3. Cirsten Koleda

Fifth grade
1. Giuliana Opris
2. Cristina Caputi
3. Yianni Roditis

Sixth grade
1. Iris Liu
2. Isabella Knapp
3. Grace Buerger

The Manhasset Chamber of Commerce Poster contest winners each received a toy from Matty’s Toy Store and the store has supplied a gift certificate for the grand prize winner.

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Elizabeth Johnson is editor of Manhasset Press and Port Washington News, special features including the Business Quarterly column, Manhasset Magazine, Pride In Port, Port Washington News, Port Gift Guide and other special sections. Growing up in nearby Garden City and attending New York University, she is well-versed in the locale and knowledgeable about the beat she covers. Her community involvement is extensive and includes the Manhasset SCA, Kiwanis International, Manhasset Chamber of Commerce, St. Mary’s Church, and various civic and local charitable organizations. Curious by nature, her travels, community service, love of the arts as well as local sports give her the inside view to unique content. During her time at Anton, she has received several awards from the New York Press Association and the Press Club of LI, including the coveted "Best Community newspaper" several years in a row.

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