As 2021 comes to an end, Bayonne has been lighting up the city with holiday cheer.
While Christmas tree and Menorah lightings were signs of hope that traditions would continue unabated as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to sweep the globe in 2020 and that things would get better with the introduction of a vaccine.
This year the lightings take on a similar yet different meaning. Now, as the COVID-19 vaccine has allowed society a return to some semblance of normalcy, the lightings symbolize the continued perseverance against the virus.
Despite being an approximately three-mile long peninsula, the city boasts a number of festive holiday lighting ceremonies and festivities. And the winter holiday season was in full-effect in Bayonne even before Thanksgiving.
The Urban Enterprise Zone/ Special Improvement District held the first Christmas tree lighting ceremony of many on Nov. 23 in Kopcinski Park at 19th Street and Broadway. Following the lighting, the Bayonne Jazz Ensemble from Bayonne High School and the Artists Avenue Theatrical Performance Group provided entertainment, pictures with Santa Claus were available, and holiday refreshments were available.
On Nov. 29, the city helped residents celebrate Hanukkah by lighting a ceremonial Menorah for the fourth year. Hosted in conjunction with Chabad of Bayonne, officials lit the first and second wicks of the Menorah on the second night of Hanukkah in front of City Hall at 630 Avenue C.
“Let’s remember all those, throughout the years, who weren’t allowed to celebrate,” Davis said at the lighting. “That’s why we come together, so that we can all celebrate and show the rest of the world what it means to stand side by side with one another.”
Lightings continue full-swing into December
A real, living Christmas tree was lit on Dec. 6 at the newly renovated Fitzpatrick Park. The park was redesigned to incorporate the living tree all-year round, displayed in front of the new roller hockey rink. While it was unable to be held last year due to the ongoing renovations, the traditional tree lighting was back in full force this year, with Christmas carols and pictures with Santa.
On Dec. 8, the city gathered to light the Christmas tree at Bayonne High School. The lighting was accompanied by performances by the Bayonne High School Band and the Bees Knees. And most recently, the downtown Christmas tree at Trinity Parish on Broadway was lit on Dec. 11. Pictures with Santa were offered at the festive gathering near the heart of the Bergen Point Shopping District.
And there will likely be more tree lightings to come including the annual Uptown Christmas tree lighting. Meanwhile, the city has put up the holiday lights along Broadway per the tradition. This year, the fountains in front of City Hall are disguised as present boxes too.
Additionally, children can send letters to Santa in two locations, one on Broadway in the First Ward and one in front of City Hall. And the Division of Recreation recently hosted a bike ride with Santa on Dec. 12.
And for those who missed Santa at the bike ride or tree lightings, the jolly man in red is coming back to the city on Dec. 23 to ride along all of Broadway from 1st Street to 52nd Street. Other events such as skateboarding with Santa on Dec. 18 will be taking place throughout the month.
Mask and social distancing were a requirement for the events as the number of active cases has and continues to increase in recent months.
For more information about holiday programs and events in Bayonne, go to bayonnenj.org and check official social media pages. For information about holiday programs and events hosted by the Division of Recreation, call Pete Amadeo at 201-858-6129 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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