BC Lights Up The Holidays

 BC Lights Up The Holidays

By Dan Guarino

The weather outside was not at all frightful as Broad Channel celebrated its annual Christmas tree lighting on Saturday, December 9, from 4 to 6 p.m. The event, organized by the Broad Channel Athletic Club and held at the BCAC field, had been postponed from the previous Sunday due to heavy rains.

Hundreds of children, along with parents, family, friends, and neighbors enjoyed hot chocolate provided by NYFAC (New York Families For Autistic Children), headquartered in Howard Beach, and large pretzels. Crafts for kids, led by BCAC volunteers, included coloring paper Christmas stockings, ornaments drawing and writing letters to Santa. A showing of “Frosty the Snowman” also played on a large inflatable screen.

Performances under the field’s large covered gazebo space included songs from Broad Channel’s Girl Scout Troop 4434 and the New Life Choir. Spirited dances from Howard Beach’s Fazio Dance Company lit up the evening. Dressed in white and in sparkling red vests, they were joined by an impromptu performance by a delighted toddler in hat and coat who wandered into the performance area, imitating their moves to the cheers of the crowd. The good-natured troupe never missed a step.

With sirens wailing and lights blazing, the man of the hour, Santa Claus, arrived around 5:30 p.m. aboard a Broad Channel Volunteer Fire Department fire truck. Wading through the crowd of excited children, he made his way to the second-floor deck of the BCAC clubhouse, joining BCAC President Jack Allen and St. Virgilius/St. Camillus pastor Monsignor Richard Ahlemeyer. Amid chants of “Light the tree! Light the tree!”, Santa and company led a countdown to the moment the switch was thrown illuminating the evergreen and sending its glowing light into the night.

The tree was supplied by BCAC neighbor Lisena Landscaping and Garden Center, which has also set up lighted holiday trees along the Cross Bay Blvd. median this year.

After the ceremony, children and parents lined up to chat and take pictures with Santa down on the clubhouse’s first floor. Jolly and friendly, he greeted each, here and there receiving heartfelt hugs in return. Said one child’s mother, “She is totally star struck by him.” Each child received a small candy cane and penguin ornament.

After taking a group picture with them, Santa was given a return ride by the BC volunteer firefighters, presumably back to the North Pole.

That is, as long as the North Pole is located in Broad Channel.

Photos by Dan Guarino

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