Hot chocolate, Santa, and good cheer

North Bergen’s ‘Winterfest’ celebration comes to three locations
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North Bergen residents welcomed the holiday season last week with a series of street fairs called “Winterfest,” held on two different dates.
Years ago, Winterfest was held only uptown on Bergenline Avenue, but last year residents began to celebrate downtown as well.
The biggest location was the nine blocks from 76th and 85th Street. That event, held Thursday, Dec. 1, drew more than 400 residents. The two downtown fairs were held Tuesday, Dec. 6. Despite the rain, more than 200 people showed up.
At the fairs, families took pictures with with Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus and enjoyed live musical performances, face painting, a bounce house, a rock wall, a trackless train, a horse and wagon, and more. Surprise visitors included Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph The Rednosed Reindeer, The Cat in the Hat, The Grinch, and Anna and Elsa, and everyone was treated to hot chocolate, popcorn, and pretzels.
“Everyone is still having a nice time,” Mayor Nicholas Sacco said at one of the downtown fairs. “We weren’t able to get a rain date, but that’s something we can look into for next year.”
“We want to keep residents happy rain or shine,” Commissioner Julio Marenco said. “Even the parents had fun.”
“They were successful,” Sacco added.

Fun for adults and kids

Resident Rem A. came to a downtown celebration with her two siblings Mus, 8, and Tasneem, 3. “We live near here, and wanted to come out,” Rem said. She’s lived here for 14 years. Her two siblings were on the trackless train the first 15 minutes they got there, Rem said.
“I want to go on the bounce house,” Mus said.
“Even the kids still enjoyed everything.” – Ingrid Fabregas
“This is great to have one downtown for people without cars,” resident Alejandra Cespedes said. Cespedes volunteered to give out drinks and popcorn at one of the downtown locations. Cespedes has lived in town for 15 years and is also an aide at McKinley Elementary School.
After moving from Union City, resident Ingrid Fabregas has been in town for four years. Fabregas came with her daughter Keyla, 15, and said they always go to community street fairs like this.
“We like to come to these to try to escape,” Fabregas said. “It’s a little rainy, but we still come out to support our community. Even the kids still enjoyed everything.”
“We couldn’t go to the one on 80th,” Fabregas added, “but we love the whole holiday thing. It makes you feel like a big kid.”