The official start to the holiday season in Summit is set to begin this Sunday with Santa’s Arrival and the Annual Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony.
As a long-standing tradition in Summit, Santa will arrive on the rooftop of the Summit YMCA on Dec. 2 at 3 p.m. The tree lighting ceremony, which is in its third year, will take place on the Village Green, located at Broad Street and Maple Street, at 4:45 p.m. These festivities are organized by Summit Downtown Inc. and sponsored by Hilltop Community Bank, which made a donation to support activities and donated goods for the event.
“Although Summit Downtown Inc. manages the downtown Special Improvement District, this is the kick off for the holidays and an event for the whole community to come together, children and families, to enjoy Santa’s arrival, activities on the Village Green and Annual Holiday Tree Lighting,” said Emi Havas, Executive Director of Summit Downtown, Inc. Board of Trustees.
These annual events didn’t always occur together.
Susan Petrow, Marketing Administrative Assistant for Summit Downtown Inc., said Santa’s arrival was moved to the Summit YMCA last year because it is across the street from the Village Green, where the annual tree lighting ceremony always takes place, and it was a way of centralizing both events for more people to enjoy.
Residents traveling throughout the city on Sunday should note that Maple Street will be closed from Broad Street to Morris Avenue during the activities.
After Santa’s arrival at 3 p.m., the Summit Fire Department will bring him down from the YMCA rooftop, Petrow said. About 1,000 local children are expected to attend and will each have an opportunity to visit with Santa in the YMCA gym, have their picture taken, and receive a treat and a small toy. Mark Wadmond, owner of Summit Video Productions, will be donating his time to take photos of the children with Santa.
Then, local families can walk across the street to the Village Green where there will be an Ice Sculpture by Jimmy’s Artistic Creations, yet another photo opportunity for community members, and hot chocolate provided by the Summit P.A.L. At 4:45 p.m., Mayor Ellen Dickson will lead the tree lighting ceremony.
To top it all off, music from two Summit High School groups will fill the air throughout this entire event.
Under the direction of Summit High School Choral Activities Director, Wayne Mallette, the Chamber Choir will perform holiday favorites during the tree lighting, Petrow said. Prior to that, the choir will provide musical entertainment on the steps of the Summit YMCA at 2:30 p.m., followed by holiday favorites in the YMCA gym where the children will be visiting with Santa.
The Summit High School Brass Quintet, under the direction of Steve Rapp, the Director of the Summit High School Band, will perform in the lobby of the Summit YMCA as residents are making their way in to visit Santa.
Petrow said both musical groups were introduced at this event last year and were well received by community members.
“Everyone really loved seeing them there and they volunteered to do this,” she said. “We’re really happy to have them participate in this community event.”
This year, Summit Downtown Inc. is launching free Summit Holiday Dollars to provide an incentive to come and shop in downtown Summit, and enjoy all that the City has to offer, Petrow said.
From 3:30 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. on Sunday in the lobby of the YMCA, the Summit Holiday Dollars will be distributed to individuals who signed up for the Summit Holiday Dollars campaign on the Summit Downtown Inc. Facebook page. However, any participating residents who cannot come to the event can pickup their Summit Holiday Dollars at the organization’s office, located at 18 Bank St., Suite 108, from Dec. 3 to Dec. 7, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Petrow said Summit Holiday Dollars, which hold a value of $10, can be used at participating merchants during the weekends of Dec. 15 and 16, and Dec. 22 and 23. City merchants who are participating will have a flier posted in their store window.
The Summit Holiday Dollars program fits in well with other holiday festivities taking place this month.
Strolling carolers will be in town on Dec. 15 and 16, and Dec. 22 and 23 from noon to 3 p.m., Petrow said. In addition, free horse and carriage rides will be offered on Beechwood Road on Dec. 23 from noon to 3 p.m.