ORANGE, NJ — Orange Mayor Dwayne Warren and the City Council lit up the night sky outside the Orange Public Library on Main Street on Thursday, Nov. 30, during the city’s annual Tree-Lighting Ceremony.
“Today was the Tree-lighting Ceremony. You see our beautiful tree,” said Warren on Thursday, Nov. 30. “We had families out, children out, various choirs came out, dance troupes came out. Everyone came to celebrate the beginning of the year, where it’s a season of giving and caring for our community.”
Every year, the Tree-lighting Ceremony marks the official start of the holiday season in Orange. There were other signs as well, such as bags with the words “Season’s Greetings” printed on them placed over parking meters on Main Street — free parking courtesy of the city — in the main commercial shopping area. There are also multicolored lights and holiday decorations strung up along Main Street, thanks to the Department of Public Works, with the brightest lights on the Christmas tree outside the Orange Public Library.
“I have my crews out hard,” said Department of Public Works Deputy Director Raymond Wingfield on Thursday, Nov. 30. “I want to show them some appreciation. They never let me down. I believe we have one of the best DPW crews, better than any other municipality has, so I’d like to thank them.”
Orange Fire Department Capt. Jamie Anderson joined Warren and Wingfield in celebrating the holidays, and reminded attendees at the ceremony that the department is also conducting a toy drive to collect gifts for those in need.
“We go straight into Christmas,” said Anderson on Thursday, Nov. 30. “Actually, what we do is we go to the elementary schools and ask for maybe the five most needy families they know … and they give us those families and the things that they want and we try our best to get the gifts that they want. And, a couple days before Christmas, they get them.”
The Orange Fire Department is also known for annually transforming its headquarters, on the corner of Central and Lincoln avenues, into a winter wonderland, where people can receive a free holiday gift.
“As far as I know, yes, we’re going to be doing that again this year,” Anderson said.
Warren credited Anderson and the other members of the Orange Fire and Police departments for their professionalism, commitment and selfless dedication to their jobs, as well as engaging in charitable acts on their own time and personal expense, and Wingfield and his DPW crews for a similar ethic.
The Fire and Police departments provide, “selfless opportunities to go and give and make children’s lives a little happier bit happier during the holiday season,” Warren said. “We bring families out and … it’s a family environment, where people come out and enjoy and celebrate each other.”
The mayor added that the covered parking meters on Main Street will be used to facilitate the upcoming annual Free Coat Giveaway organized by himself and his wife and East Orange Mayor Lester Taylor and his wife, Bibi.
“You see all of our parking meters, which are closed for the holidays. You’ll have hats, coats, scarves, all up and down Main Street. People can come, pick up, if it fits them, take them home to your families, so you can have a warm Christmas atmosphere.”
Warren also invited volunteers who want to give their time or make a charitable donation of any kind during the holiday season to “come by the main firehouse on Central Avenue and Lincoln Avenue and make a donation. Figure out how you can volunteer. If there’s other stuff you want to do, let us know what your ideas are and we’ll get involved as well.”
To volunteer, or for more information about holiday season events, call 973-266-4005 or visit www.ci.orange.nj.us.