The 39th Annual New Providence Christmas Walk served as a warm welcome for this year's holiday season.
Santa was first spotted on the roof of The Provident Bank around dusk and continued down South Street and throughout the Village Shopping Center on a New Providence fire truck, serenaded by the Marching Band.
Nearly four decades since the Christmas Walk began, businesses in New Providence are still spreading the holiday spirit during this annual event. Thanks to the generous support and efforts of the New Providence Downtown Improvement District, the and the New Providence High School Marching Band, family and friends enjoyed refreshments, crafts, and music on the crisp November evening.
“The last time I came to the walk, I was maybe eight-years-old,” said the now 22-year-old South Orange resident, Kristen Kubilus. “I used to come with my grandmother when I was little but I forgot about the event until I saw an advertisement online. The holiday cheer and community spirit are so contagious, I’d like to make this a new Christmas tradition.”
Tradition is the perfect word to encapsulate the spirit of the Christmas Walk. Pam Steiner, an Organization Resources consultant for New Providence Business and Professional Association, says the Christmas Walk was originally created as an opportunity for local merchants to offer gifts and treats, while residents got to see what the stores had to offer for the holidays.
has been giving away flowers for more than 25 years during the annual event. “We got in 1,100 red roses and expect to give away them all,” said Abbie Hovanec of the family-owned company.
A few shops down the road at , a live band dubbed “Santa and his Elves” attracted a large crowd with their Christmas classics. Spectators enjoyed popcorn and apple cider while listening to the group consisting of guitarist Kenny Cadmus and vocalist Cindy Gelormini, both McGrath employees.
, which has been participating in the Christmas Walk for 31 years, handed out popcorn and balloon animals. “We had a good turnout,” said Carl LoMauro, owner of Colonial Appliance. “The warmer the weather, the greater the turnout.”
On Springfield Avenue, luminaries lit the way to where children got the chance to pet live animals, including rabbits, goats, and sheep. The church also hosted a live Nativity scene to remind families that Christmas is not just about buying and receiving material gifts, but sharing memories and cheer with those who are special.
But one of the main attractions was the chance to sit on Santa’s lap at . The line to whisper a Christmas wish, a tradition that dates back 27 years, was around the block but seemed to move quickly for many excited children.
Bill Ferdinand, owner of Ferdinand Jewelers, classified the turnout as an awesome success. “There is a much larger crowed and the streets are full,” he said.