Woodhaven embraces holiday spirit with tree lighting

Santa Claus comes to visit the Woodhaven Christmas Tree Lighting event on Friday, Dec. 8.

The Woodhaven Business Improvement District brought the holidays to the community with a dazzling tree lighting event for hundreds of spectators to witness on Friday, Dec. 8.

Although the tree lighting was rescheduled due to some inclement weather and rain the previous week, residents didn’t waiver from gathering at the intersection of Forest Parkway and Jamaica Avenue Friday night.

The Woodhaven BID Christmas Tree event comes to a climax as the tree is finally illuminated. Photo by Anthony Medina

As part of the tree lighting festivities, hot chocolate, cookies and toys were made available to residents, thanks to the Ozone Park – Woodhaven – Howard Beach Lions Club and Ozone Park – Woodhaven Kiwanis Club.

Officers from the 102nd Precinct blocked off the streets along Forest Avenue going up toward Park Lane South to provide safety and opportunities for children to play carefully in the street.

Woodhaven BID Director John Perricone, who organized the tree lighting event, said it took a community effort to make this year’s festivities possible. He thanked the civic groups, community leaders, elected officials and NYPD members who helped put it together.

“We just felt that the combination of community groups, residents, members of the community made it a really fun event for us,” said Perricone.

State Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. greets volunteers at the Woodhaven Christmas tree lighting. Photo by Anthony Medina

The organizations and businesses that made the event possible included Community Board 9, Dunkin Donuts, New York Community Bank, Pan U Go Bakery, The Woodhaven Residents Block Association and Wilson’s Showtime Services. Several residents also helped the Woodhaven BID.

Community Board 9 District Manager James McClelland hands out “Chemlights” to children. Photo by Anthony Medina

Assemblymember Jenifer Rajkumar also joined in on the festivities this year, like previous years. State Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo Jr. made his rounds, greeting constituents and event volunteers. The office of Council Member Joann Ariola also made sure to come out to the tree lighting as a sponsor and supporter.

Local Woodhaven church groups, including choir singers with All Nations Baptist Church and Unidad y Fe, provided live holiday music and songs, inviting all to join in as they paid tribute to the origins of Christmas.

Children from The Forest Park School P.S. 97Q wait to sing Christmas carols to the crowd of hundreds in attendance. Photo by Anthony Medina

Closer to the tree being illuminated, children from The Forest Park School P.S. 97Q also came out to sing some classic holiday tunes, surrounded by some proud parents with iPhones fully fixed on the youngsters.

Lastly, eager children and parents alike were visited by Santa Claus, who rolled onto the scene in a decorated car and helped to count down the tree lighting. The event came to a close with photo opportunities with Santa Clause in his big red and gold chair.