Members and friends of the Town of Lloyd Events Committee were busy as little elves decorating their downtown in anticipation of the holidays and the annual “Light up the Hamlet” tradition slated for Dec. 7. “We’re decorating the hamlet with hanging baskets, filled with fresh greens, bulbs and ribbons,” said Kate Jonietz, chair of the Events Committee, as well as confidential secretary to supervisor Paul Hansut. Light posts are being wrapped with candy-cane ribbon, trees and storefronts and utility poles with Christmas lights and more.
“This event has been a hallmark for years,” said Jonietz, who is working with her committee to bring a vintage, classic, “small-town nostalgic feel for the holidays that has sadly become lost in many ways. We want the kids, the grownups, the grandparents, the business owners, all of our residents and visitors to get excited about Christmas and celebrate the anticipation together, as a community.”
To that end, they have a lineup for the event that could rival a Norman Rockwell vignette. The lights get “turned on” at approximately 6 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 7. A portion of Vineyard Avenue in the heart of the hamlet will be shut down to give a safe and block-party-like feel to the festivities, which will include Christmas carols being sung by the über-talented Highland High School Concert Choir. “They really are the best of the best,” said Jonietz, reflecting on the musical talent of some of Highland’s teenagers.
There will be firepits run by members of the Highland Fire Department where people can roast marshmallows and indulge in some hot chocolate. The Lloyd Police Benevolent Association will be doing its annual Toys for Tots drive, and encourages anyone who can to bring an unwrapped gift for a child. The gifts will then be delivered to those in need over the holiday season.
On the lawn of the Methodist Church there will be a tree-lighting ceremony; and, although travel arrangements have not yet been completely secured, Santa and Mrs. Claus have RSVPed to the Town of Lloyd and will be making an appearance to greet the children and take pictures with them. “We’re trying to arrange a horse-drawn carriage to bring Santa and Mrs. Claus into the hamlet,” said Jonietz. “But if we’re unable to do that, then they will still be brought in with high fashion: on one of our firetrucks!”
The businesses will be open for the community to shop and enjoy, including two new businesses that recently opened: the Highland Treasure Chest Market and UpTown Girl Boutique. “Both have amazing, one-of-a-kind gifts that will strengthen holiday shopping right in our own downtown,” said Jonietz.
She was quick to point out that, while she is chair of the Events Committee, her right- and left-hand gals are Stephanie Fraino and Ann Marie Meisel. “They are my angels!”
“Light up the Hamlet” is slated to run from approximately 6 to 8 p.m. To cap off the night off, Santa Claus will read “A Visit from St. Nicholas.”