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Fired up for Christmas: Santa’s fire truck arrival sparks awe at tree lighting

The man in fire engine red: Santa grabbed a ride to the tree lighting on Engine 242, as a lack of snow inhibited his sleigh’s effectiveness.
Photo by Georgine Benvenuto

This tree lighting really had its bases covered.

Santa Claus had the crowd going wild when he swooped in to the Shore Road Park gazebo’s tree lighting on the back of a fire engine on Dec. 2.

Presents the annual gift-giver handed out at the luminous fete kindled a fire of holiday spirit in some young Ridgites, one parent said.

“It really got us into the holiday spirit — they both got stuffed puppy dogs and they’ve been sleeping with them every night since,” Maryann Ponton said of her 5-year-old daughter Gemma and 2-year-old son Julian. “They’ve been singing the Christmas carols they heard there too.”Xaverian High School’s jazz band — which welcomed the Pope to the U.S. during his whirlwind September visit — and chorus kept the energy up with carols all night. Volunteers handed out cookies and hot chocolate to warm up everyone in the harbor-breeze-kissed park. Others collected toy donations for Toys for Tots.

State Senator Martin Golden (R–Bay Ridge), Councilman Vincent Gentile (D–Bay Ridge), and Shore Road Parks Conservancy founder Linda Allegretti flipped the switch to light the tree.

Reach reporter Dennis Lynch at (718) 260–2508 or e-mail him at dlynch@cnglocal.com.
A special gift: Gemma Ponton holds up a stuffed animal she got from Santa at the tree lighting on Dec. 2 at the gazebo on Shore Road.
Photo by Georgine Benvenuto

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