It’s not winter yet, but Shore Road Park is sure looking like a wonderland!
The green space’s gazebo was a-glow with Yuletide goodwill on Dec. 5 at the annual lighting of its Christmas tree — thanks in part to the help from some very special guests.
Hundreds converged on the little shelter at the corner of 90th Street and Shore Road to savor hot chocolate, catch up with Santa Claus, bask in the dulcet sounds of the Guild for Exceptional Children chorus and Xaverian High School band — and, of course, to see a majestic 16-foot-tall evergreen burst into holiday color.
“It’s a great tree, perfect for taking pictures,” said Chip “Festival Guy” Cafiero, a member of the Shore Road Park Conservancy, the group behind the festive spectacle.
Cafiero reported the biggest crowd in the extravaganza’s decade-long history — at least, as measured in hot chocolate served.
“We make the cups smaller and we’re still running out. That’s how we know the crowd keeps growing,” Cafiero said.
“The Guild choir was just phenomenal. The crowd loves them, and they just love doing it. It’s wild, the smiles on their faces, you can tell they’re so happy to get to sing,” Cafiero said. “And the Xaverian band is always great.”
The Shore Road Catholic boy’s academy lent a hand to the production in other ways — its Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets helped the Conservancy coordinate the event, and Xaverian drill instructor Lieutenant Colonel Lee Anderson threw the switch to ignite the night.