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Fort Lee Mayor Promises ‘Extra Special’ Holiday Tree Lighting This Year

The annual event, which this year is Dec. 6 at the community center, should be more fun than ever, especially for kids who lost Halloween to Sandy, Mayor says.

Fort Lee officials have announced that the borough’s annual holiday tree lighting event at the Fort Lee Community Center will take place on Dec. 6, and the mayor says it’s going to be an “extra special” event.

“In the face of all that we’ve had to confront over the last several weeks, we’re going to try and have a family- and friend- and community-filled distraction and enjoy commemorating the holiday season with the whole community,” Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich said. “You may rest assured it’s going to be extra special this year because of the second year in a row having interrupted Halloween. We promised the kids something special, and we’re going to deliver for them.”

Halloween was essentially cancelled this year after Hurricane Sandy left widespread power outages, downed trees and power lines in its wake, prompting Sokolich to declare a state of emergency.

Last year, Halloween was just two days after a freak October snowstorm left Fort Lee with significant damage, albeit not on the scale of Sandy’s devastation, and at the very least disrupted trick-or-treating for many.

According to the Borough of Fort Lee’s website, this year’s tree lighting includes “hot chocolate, treats, DJ, music and more,” but Sokolich focused his remarks Tuesday on the “more” part, although he said he didn’t want to “give away any surprises.”

In addition to the roughly 35-foot tree, he said there’s also going to be a “trackless train” among the attractions.

“We’re even building a small little holiday village,” Sokolich said, noting that local businesses and donations are paying for “the lion’s share” of this year’s tree lighting and associated festivities.

“We need something the community can do to get together and celebrate together,” Sokolich said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun for the kids; there will be fun for all, and we’re expecting a lot of folks.”

The 2012 version of Fort Lee’s annual holiday tree lighting takes place Thursday, Dec. 6 at 7 p.m. at the Jack Alter Fort Lee Community Center, located at 1355 Inwood Terrace.


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Tony Kosova November 21, 2012 at 12:31 AM
It's a Christmas tree, not a holiday tree.
William Mays November 21, 2012 at 03:30 AM
Christians aren't the only people out there. Sort of unfair to only celebrate their holiday.
Zachary David November 21, 2012 at 03:49 PM
Tony/William: You're being downright silly and you know it. I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on Thanksgiving. Shouldn't we boycott Macys for glorifying the death of millions of turkeys with their parade?
Jerry Wish November 21, 2012 at 03:53 PM
Which businesses are actually paying for the Holiday Village?NONE. Just another way of trying to make us believe that Tax payer dollars are not being used to celebrate Christmas. I also heard that the town purchased a 30 foot tall Christmas Cone, not a tree for this event and that it cost in excess of $20,000 and that it costs an additional $3500 for storage and assembly, EVERY YEAR. Merry Christmas Mr. Mayor.
William Mays November 21, 2012 at 08:14 PM
Jerry, even if you aren't Christian, I'm not Christian, I'm Jewish, its still nice to see a tree by the community center.
Thomas A Bennett November 22, 2012 at 03:04 AM
This is all pretty ridiculous. Every Religion has it's Holiday traditions.In my honest opinion, December 25th is Christmas because Jesus Christ was born that Day in the Catholic Religion. Chanukah starts on the Hebew calendar date of 25 Kislev and lasts for eight days. In 2012 it is Dec 8-16, 2013 it is November 27-Dec 5 and so on. Sometimes it is even more confusing when Chanukah occurs arount the 25th of December.. The tree that goes up for the December 25th is called a Christmas Tree because Dec 25 this always Christmas because Christ was born that day. Chanukah's date changes. I am sure that Jewish folks would object to the Menorah being called "Holiday lights" because of their religious meaning. I don't care what religion everyone is as long as they believe in a higher power.
Jerry Wish November 22, 2012 at 03:39 AM
Mr. Mays: I think you missed the point of my comment, the mayor is quoted as saying that local businesses paid the lion share of the cost of the tree lighting and festivities. His statement is not true. The town paid for the fake tree and surrounding holiday village. While I agree that it's nice to see the town decorated, just don't make us look foolish and try to cover up that taxpayer funds were used.
carol simon November 24, 2012 at 01:05 AM
Mr. Wish: Cover up? Lighten up, enjoy the holiday spirit!
Jerry Wish November 25, 2012 at 07:03 PM
Ms. Simon: I'm all for the Holidays and full of spirit. I just think we are entitled to the truth. Have you ever realized that the Tree Lighting is the only event that the Mayor and Council hold at the Community Center. Other towns have sponsored Spring Flings, Borough Day, Festivals that are for the pure enjoyment of the residents. Unless you purchase a $250 ticket for a dinner dance or fund raiser, you'll never see the entire governing body at one event. Again, I am all for community events, I just wish (no pun intended) they spoke the truth about how it's paid and not worry that members of other faiths would object.
carol simon November 27, 2012 at 01:41 AM
Dear Mr. Wish: I appreciate your sentiments, however, the Community Center has tons of movies and concerts for all ages, throughout the year, inclusive of all races and religions. I think there is a lot going on but if you have suggestions, it would be great for you to take it to the Fort Lee Council meeting to share your good ideas. Best Wishes!!!
Al Norton November 29, 2012 at 01:09 AM
Christmas is for kids and the fact they are getting something special is ok in my book!! As it would be for any other religion celebrating a joyous event.


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