Mountainside tree lighting celebration lights up ice skating – Union News Daily

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MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ – Friends and families, along with Santa Claus and Singing Girl Scouts, came for the Mountainside Recreation Department’s 35th Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on Saturday, December 4 at Borough Hall, followed by ‘a festive evening of ice skating near the Westfield rink in Gumbert Park.

“Today we had our annual light tree, in which the Girl Scouts came to sing, the rescue team donated cookies and hot chocolate to everyone, Santa Claus comes in the truck from firefighters, then, after the tree is lit, we have our annual Ice Skating Party for the residents of Mountainside, ”said Mountainside Deputy Director of Recreation Samantha Grindlinger on Saturday, Dec. 4, and the Santa was provided by the Mountainside Fire Department. This is the 35th year that we have been doing this. Last year we were unable to have people present due to COVID, so we were just thrilled to get back to everything. There’s a lot of behind-the-scenes work, and we just hope all the kids had a great time today, like they did before. Frank Masella is an integral part of it and he’s the recreation director. Paul Mirabelli, who is the mayor, comes to give the address and a lot of other work as well, and a few board members as well.

“Tree lighting was a pretty good turnout. Before COVID, it was always much bigger. I think some people are still a little hesitant to go out, but they will be able to watch it and enjoy it from home, because of the release of Channel 35, ”she continued. “The turnout here at the rink is pretty good tonight. The Westfield Rink capacity is 150 right now and we usually go to the Union Rink. It’s a bit closer, and we wanted to try it out. So we are happy with the turnout.

“I think everyone had a blast tonight,” Grindlinger added. “It’s just a bit of normalcy, especially with everything that comes into play with COVID. We don’t know what’s going to happen in the next few months, so let’s give the kids some normalcy for the holidays. “

City Councilor Steven Matejek, who was also on hand to attend the holiday festivities, spoke fondly about the free skating event.

“The participation rate was pretty good. Unfortunately we didn’t have the event due to COVID (last year), but this year we have a full crowd, which is similar to pre-COVID levels, ”Matejek said on Saturday, December 4. . “With the tree – lighting, which was organized by the mayor and council, we had local suppliers of fairy lights for us on the tree, and our recreation department organized the lighting event. of the tree and also arranged with this facility to accommodate the city.

“I think this event was great. I’ve been doing this for many years, and it’s really great to get back to some normalcy. The participation was excellent. I see a lot of families, a lot of kids skating at all levels – some people who are new to skating and some who are experienced skating, and I see people skating with their families. It’s really great to see that. Next year, I hope we will have an even bigger participation.

Mountainside resident Cheryl Isbirian brought her two children and other loved ones for the Mountainside festivities. Sensing the Christmas cheer of the event, Isbirian said she hopes next year’s festivities draw a much larger crowd than this, assuming COVID-19 subsides.

“We’re at the traditional free ice skating event that takes place after the trees are lit on the mountainside and it’s super fun. The kids get together, it gets them out of the house to socialize, which is nice to have a sense of normalcy, ”Isbirian said on Saturday, December 4th. “I really like this event being held in Westfield. In a way, it feels like we’re supporting our sister city, in a way, and I like that it’s a little smaller environment. Mountainside really takes over the ice and has a blast.

“For next year, I hope it all comes back the same way it started this year and we have tree lighting, even more people attend and more people feel at the comfortable, ”she added. “It will be an even bigger turnout because of it.”

Photos by EmilyAnn Jackman

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