After a year's absence, South Kingstown's annual holiday kickoff celebration and tree lighting was back in the newlty constructed, beautfully decorated Village Green Sunday afternoon. since the Village Green was under reconstruction in 2010, the annual Christmas Tree lighting was back in fine fettle in a beautifully decorated park.
Sponsored by The South Kingstown Parks & Recreation Department, the Peace Dale Revitalization Committee and the Community Unity Renewal Board, this year's festivities kicked off at 4:30 p.m. Sunday with horse drawn carriage rides through the Palisades Mill Complex and craft activities for children inside the Neighborhood Guild. A movie and refreshments were also featured indoors while the Wakefield Concert Band performed holiday favorites outdoors. Hot chocolate and candy canes were the outdoor treats while the carols rang out.
Soon after, the sirens and flashing lights of Wakefield Fire Department's new Engine #1 signaled the day's highlight — the arrival of Old St. Nick himself. Santa hopped out of the fire truck and made his way down the new paths of the Village Green and through the throngs of families to join the band on stage. There he, along with Town Council President Ella Whaley and council member Jim O'Neill, led the crowd in a countdown for the tree lights to sparkle. After the lighting, Santa took time to meet and greet the children who attended the event.
If you missed Santa this time he will be back at the Neighborhood Guild on Dec. 6-9 with personal visitations available. Registration is required because each family will have its own designated time to spend with the big guy. There is a $5 fee for this program per family, payable on the night of your visit. Don't forget to bring your camera! Call the guild at 401-789-9301 to register.
If you can't visit in person, you still have a chance to write a letter to Santa and receive a reply. Through Dec. 9 you can drop a letter off in the special mailbox sent up at the Guild and they will whisk it through their very special connection to the North Pole. Santa will answer your letter. You can drop it off or mail to Santa Claus, North Pole Delivery, Neighborhood Guild, 325 Columbia St. Wakefield, RI 02879.
There is also a mitten and glove drive at the guild. Anyone who drops off a new pair of mittens or gloves can take a paper mitten off the tree in the lobby and enter a drawing for a $25 guild gift certificate. The drawing will be held on Dec. 30.