Residents enjoy mild temperatures at Warwick's annual Christmas tree lighting

| 15 Feb 2012 | 10:28

Warwick — Warwick citizens always come out in droves for the annual Christmas tree-lighting ceremony in Lewis Park but this year’s turnout was even better than usual. Temperatures on Friday evening, Nov. 25, were mild with clear skies. And another large crowd of parents, grandparents and children were on hand to participate in the countdown for the official lighting. The annual event is sponsored by the Warwick Volunteer Fire Department. Before the lighting, members of the Warwick Middle School “Choraleers” treated the audience to a selection of traditional Christmas songs. Warwick Fire Department First Assistant Chief Joe Smith welcomed the visitors, introduced guest speakers and later thanked those members of the Department who volunteered their time and skills. Volunteer firefighter Barry O’Neil began the ceremony by offering a special prayer and Smith then first introduced U.S. Rep. Nan Hayworth, R-Mount Kisco, who represents New York’s 19th District. She praised Warwick as a most beautiful village with wonderful traditions. Warwick Town Supervisor Michael Sweeton and Mayor Michael Newhard both thanked the men and women of the fire department for their many years of treating their fellow citizens to this pleasant family event. Sweeton urged everyone to give to others during the Christmas season and he thanked the firefighters for their contribution to the safety of the community. Mayor Michael Newhard echoed those same sentiments. “Every time I hear the fire department’s sirens sound I say a prayer for the safety of everyone involved. We have wonderful volunteer firefighters, and I stress volunteer.” Following those brief remarks Smith then led the crowd with the official countdown and tree lighting. And once again, Santa, traveling in a fire engine led by another fire truck decked out in holiday lights, made his usual early surprise visit and handed out goodies to the excited children who lined up to greet him. In 2003, the Christmas Tree lighting ceremony returned to Lewis Park after years of being held at what was then a privately owned “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