The Town of North Hempstead kicked off the holiday season with its annual Christmas tree lighting and poster contest in Mary Jane Davies Green on Friday.
Supervisor Judi Bosworth, town council members, Manhasset business owners and more gathered in the park surrounded by children waiting to see Santa at the end of the celebration.
Bosworth said she loved seeing the town residents come together to welcome the holiday season.
“The lighting of the tree has really become quite the tradition in Manhasset,” Bosworth said. “It’s such a great opportunity for family, friends, all our town elected officials to come together as we ring in the holiday season together.”
The Manhasset High School Brass Choir performed before the tree lighting. The Pledge of Allegiance was done by Manhasset’s American Legion Post 304, and a blessing was given by the Rev. Jimmy Only of Congregational Church of Manhasset.
The 20-foot Norway spruce tree was decorated by local Girl Scout troops, Bosworth said, and was lit with multi-colored lights once the sun set. The 39-foot Colorado blue spruce in front of Town Hall was also lit.
Manhasset Chamber of Commerce member Nancy Morris announced the many winners of the poster contest award, where children decorate posters for the holiday season. Kindergarteners through sixth-graders at St. Mary’s Elementary School, Munsey Park Elementary School and Shelter Rock Elementary School are invited to make a poster for a chance to be entered for the contest’s grand prize.
Voting is open through the end of the year, and posters are hung around Manhasset in different storefronts, Morris said.
Grand finalists are third-grader Megan Fox from Munsey Park, fifth-grader Gabriella Waltos of Munsey Park and fourth-graders Jessica Strassberg from Shelter Rock, Kate Voelker from Munsey Park and Gabby Osorio from Munsey Park.
Poster contest winners include Lucas Glass from Shelter Rock, Emilia Scalzo from Shelter Rock, Chase McKenna from Shelter Rock and Jack Barry from Munsey Park for the kindergarteners; Charles Cafasso from Munsey Park, Jacqueline Zheng from Shelter Rock and Elizabeth Barres from Munsey Park for the first-graders; Lilly Knapp from Shelter Rock, Giselle Kohm from Shelter Rock and Andrew Tsimikalis from Munsey Park for the second-graders; Megan Fox from Munsey Park, Megan Sica from Munsey Park and Amalia Colombos from Shelter Rock for the third-graders; Strassberg, Voelker and Gabby Osorio for the fourth-graders; Megan Tian from Munsey Park, Vivian Chen from Munsey Park, Gabriella Waltos from Munsey Park and Emma Theofilatos of Shelter Rock for the fifth-graders; and Giuliana Opris of Shelter Rock, Anastasia Gatamas of Shelter Rock and Cristina Caputi of Munsey Park for the sixth-graders.
For Five Coffee Roasters set up tables in the park, offering free coffee, hot chocolate and snacks for the event. Co-founder Stefanos Vouvoudakis said the company, based in Queens, will open its first Long Island location at 292 Plandome Road in January.
Donuts were also provided by Steiner’s Pastry Shop at 432 Plandome Road.
“Our partners here on Plandome Road are really a part of this community, and we need to support our small businesses,” Councilwoman Anna Kaplan said.
After the tree lighting, a firetruck from the Bayview Avenue firehouse came down Plandome Road with Santa riding on top, waving to the enthusiastic children to end the evening.
“It’s important to take a moment to reflect on all that we have to be grateful for and to know there are so many who are less fortunate than us,” Bosworth said. “Let’s make sure that during this holiday season, we think about those who are less fortunate and reach out our hands and our hearts to all of them.”