Record crowd enjoys Warwick's Christmas Tree lighting and early Santa visit

| 27 Nov 2017 | 04:11

— Perhaps it was the good weather or the large number of shoppers in downtown Warwick on Friday evening, Nov. 24, but a record crowd, estimated at more than 500 residents, turned out for Warwick's official Christmas tree lighting.
The annual event, enjoyed by everyone, especially parents, grandparents and children, was sponsored by the Warwick Volunteer Fire Department. And volunteers and members of the Fire Department Auxiliary were also on hand to serve free hot chocolate.
Before the tree lighting, students involved in the Warwick Valley High School Chorus Program and some members of the Meistersingers treated the audience to a selection of traditional Christmas songs.
Warwick Fire Department Chief Jason Brasier then welcomed visitors and introduced guest speakers.
The Rev. Jack Arlotta, pastor of the Church of St. Stephen, the First Martyr, offered an invocation, which was followed by brief remarks by Mayor Michael Newhard and Warwick Town Supervisor Michael Sweeton, both of whom praised the men and women of the Fire Department for their service throughout the year and wished everyone a Merry Christmas.
Brasier then led the crowd in the traditional countdown to the tree lighting.
And once again, Santa, traveling in a modern fire apparatus, made his usual early surprise visit and handed out goodies to the children who lined up to greet him.
In 2003, the Christmas Tree lighting ceremony moved to Lewis Park after years of being held at "Railroad Green." Since that time the Historical Society of the Town of Warwick has helped the Warwick Fire Department continue its long tradition by graciously providing the magnificent evergreen, just outside its Old School Baptist MeetingHouse.
- Roger Gavan