Story by Janmarie Foschini
The Village of Greenwood Lake kicked off the holiday season on Sat., Dec. 1 with a day filled with fun and cheer. The festivities began Saturday morning with Santa’s sled stopping by the Bark Park and taking photos with the dogs.
Large crowds were drawn to the annual vendor/craft fair with over 30 vendors on site and various businesses selling food and beverages including Greenwood Lake Bagels, the Helm, and Greenwood Lake Roasters. Beautiful homemade gifts, crafts, food, artwork, candles, baked goods, jewelry, a fundraising table for the Greenwood Lake Skate Park, reindeer food, and much more filled Waterstone Rd.
Families were treated to horse and buggy rides in the Village. Santa Claus came to town and children of all ages sat on Santa’s lap and gave their Christmas and holiday wishes. Photos with Santa were sponsored by Computer Mama for everyone who stopped by for a picture with Santa.
The G.L. Boy Scouts supplied wood for the burn barrels and kept them going during the event, while serving up delicious snacks to shoppers. The G.L. Community Center was open during the festivities and families were invited to decorate gingerbread houses.
Community Center volunteer Chris Van Vooren was thrilled with the event saying, “To see the community center filled with children and parents making holiday crafts was fantastic.”
Other fun activities included a scavenger hunt, face painting, coloring, and holiday music provided by DJ Ry Guy. The Greenwood Lake Theater was caroling around with many singing along and dancing in the streets, sipping on hot chocolate and having a festive time.
As the evening concluded, the annual tree lighting took place with Santa joining in the countdown. Father Sweeney offered the prayer and was joined by several local officials including Jim Booth (representing County Executive Steve Neuhaus), Orange County Legislator Barry Cheney, Town Supervisor Michael Sweeton, Village of Greenwood Lake Mayor Jesse Dwyer, G.L. Trustee Chad Sellier, G.L. Village Attorney John Buckheit, Town Justice Nancy DeAngelo, Town Councilman Floyd DeAngelo, and G.L. Trustee Tom Howley. Girl scouts, cub scouts, and Irish step dancers joined in the celebration, along with music from the Warwick Valley Select Choir members.
Mayor Jesse Dwyer thanked the countless volunteers, organizations, officials, and the community who helped prepare for the day and supported the event and wished everyone a wonderful holiday season.
Colleen Dwyer, the event coordinator, said, “When I decided I wanted to host a Holiday Festival in the Village my husband told me that I watch too many Hallmark movies but to go ahead if I wanted to. After a freezing cold first year I didn’t think any vendors would ever come back. Now here we are hosting our fifth annual Holiday Festival and it’s bigger and better than ever. Horse and buggy rides, great food, all different vendors from baked goods and paintings to jewelry and alpaca Socks and of course, a visit from Santa.”
She continued, “It is truly a wonderful feeling to look around and see people gathered around fire pits and families dancing around the Christmas tree. I love seeing the community come out together to celebrate the holidays. Being with friends and family is what it’s all about. I am so grateful for everyone who came out to support this event and everyone who helped make it possible. Ed Bilello – for getting all of the decorations up around the Village in preparation for the day and to the Greenwood Lake Police Department for all your help. I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas and blessings throughout the season.”
The weekend finished off with the annual Menorah lighting sponsored by the congregation of B’Nai Torah and the Village of Greenwood Lake. The community joined Sunday evening in front of the beautiful new Menorah, with a brief history of Hanukkah, while singing songs before the annual Menorah lighting. Following the lighting everyone was welcomed inside the Community Center for refreshments that included gelt, dreidels, donuts, munchkins, and juice.
Community member Jessica Lewis, who helped coordinate the event, thanked Mayor Jesse Dwyer for “his warm support to the Jewish community in Greenwood Lake and thanks to Rabbi Meir Borenstein and the Village of Greenwood Lake for ordering us a new Menorah.”
Temple President Marilyn Potter thanked Jessica for all her hard work with this event. Mayor Dwyer wished everyone a Happy Hanukkah and thanked everyone for coming out and celebrating the first night of Hanukkah.