Nasty weather predictions moved the Levittown Chamber of Commerce tree lighting indoors for only the second time in more than 20 years of holding the celebration. And, the event went off with hardly a noticeable flaw.
Accommodations by the Levittown Public Library made the event possible and enjoyable to all who performed and all who attended.
“The library staff was amazing in making provisions for our performers and in providing performance space and room for the audience on the main floor of the library,” says Louise Cassano, co-chairperson of the tree lighting event. “Library Director Trina Reed and her staff made everyone feel comfortable and were amazingly hospitable despite a huge disruption of the library’s normal services,” continued Cassano. The library’s community room on the lower level is currently under construction; part of a major remodeling project.
The Town of Hempstead Parks Department had the park manicured and the tree decorated days ahead of the schedule event working with Tree Lighting Committee Co-Chair, Tom DiIorio. More than 3,600 bulbs lit up the 25-foot tree located in Veterans Memorial Park on Shelter Lane and Hempstead Turnpike.
Performer, mostly young students from Levittown and Island Trees schools, and local music groups and dance studios, and their directors made last minute adjustments to performances they had been planning for months and, Cassano says, showed extreme professionalism.
The event was emceed by Brimstone and the crew of Grindhouse Radio and refreshments were provided by Starbucks in Levittown and the Levittown Library. For the first time, this year, a food truck – Mama’s Cuban Kitchen – was on hand providing dinner selections for attendees.
Santa and his friends, Frosty and Rudolph, arrived aboard a Levittown Fire Department fire truck and, after meeting and greeting the crowd indoors, despite the rain, paraded outside to lead the countdown to lighting the tree.
Performers included Northside School’s 5th Grade Holiday Singers and Instrumental Group under the direction of teachers Isabella McClancy and Christopher Rispoli; Xtreme Rhythm Dance Academy directed by Jessica Taylor; Secret bbq Band; 5,6,7,8 Dance Studio directed by Jennifer Gass; Holiday Cheer Kidz of Neighborhood Entertainment Arts and Theater under the direction of teacher Watson Miller; and St. Bernard’s Singers led by MaryJane Witte.