IRVINGTON, NJ — The New Irvington Manor’s third annual Holiday Party on Sunday, Dec. 20, featured Mayor Tony Vauss giving away toys to the first 100 children who came to the event, which included a rousing performance by Uncle Magic, a dance contest, a toy giveaway for the hundreds of other children who showed up; free refreshments, a reading of the meaning of Kwanzaa, a performance by praise dancers, two bouncy houses set up in one of the venue’s ballrooms, a musical performance by rappers from Cash House Entertainment in Brooklyn and an appearance by Miss Santa Claus.
“We’re just spreading some holiday cheer; giving away some gifts,” Vauss said Dec. 20. He had again partnered with the manor’s owner, Daniel Frett, to host the annual holiday event. “We always have things for the seniors, we always have things for the children and we have things for everyone in-between,” said Vauss. “So it’s important for us to do this to share with everyone, spread some holiday cheer as we go into what I like to call the exciting 2016 for Irvington, because we’ve got a lot of things slated to happen.”
Frett said it was a pleasure to team up with Vauss to host a holiday event for the Irvington community, and that the New Irvington Manor’s mission is to serve the community by promoting cultural events and activities designed to give people an appreciation for the arts, in addition to helping them to develop and showcase their own individual talents.
“This is a holiday event and we just wanted to bring to the community here in Northern New Jersey and the whole metropolitan area our version of the diversity of celebrating the holidays,” said Frett on Dec. 20. “A lot of people celebrate the holidays in a lot of different ways. Some people celebrate Kwanzaa. Some people celebrate Hanukkah. Some people celebrate the birth of Christ. We feel that, as a community, we would like to bring everybody together under one umbrella. So today we’re here to represent the diversity of the oneness that is the holidays.”
Based on the reactions of both children and adults, Frett said he can consider this year’s Holiday Party “mission accomplished.” The intergenerational affair also attracted the participation of some of the township’s seniors, such as Mary Terrell, the president of the 1 Linden Avenue Tenants Association, and her friend, Constance Cherry, of Stockman Place.
“The mayor invited a few select seniors to come around and support the children, so we came to support the children. It inspires them. We’re role models,” Terrell said Dec. 20. “The kids are really going to enjoy it. It’s good to have this every year, because we need something for the children. They’ll be the voters soon and they need to learn what community and giving back and fellowship mean.”
Cherry said she believes the holiday party was a good thing for the kids because it “gives them something to do, and helps “keep them out of trouble.”
Karen Barker was at the Holiday Party with her daughter, Shiann, 8; niece, Maya Pierre, 5; niece, Kaitlyn Evans, 8; and nephew, Sakary Fordice, 2. Barker said they were glad they came to the event.
“I was at one of the Irvington Community Meetings and I heard about the gifts and the party for kids today so I brought them out,” Barker said.
Maya said she was glad they came to the New Irvington Manor Holiday Party “because there’s a bouncy house.” Shiann said she doesn’t know what she wants for Christmas this year, but “I know that people are giving us gifts, because it confirms that they’re caring about us.”
Kaitlyn said she knows exactly what she wants for Christmas and that her favorite subject in school is math, and she wants to be a teacher when she grows up. “I only need four things for Christmas: a playhouse, UNO cards, a table for the playhouse and the book ‘Dork Diary,’” she said.
Kaitlyn added, “I’m glad that we came, because I get to celebrate Christmas with the community. There were a lot of people, but I didn’t mind, because it’s fun. I would tell people: next year, come to this building and have fun here.”