BELLEVILLE, NJ — The sound of children’s delight was heard over and over again during a Three Kings Day drive-through event at Belleville High School on Jan. 6. The celebration, presented by Mayor Michael Melham and the township council, has quickly become one of the town’s most popular, festive events.
For more than two hours, some 750 cars carrying children of all ages made their way down Passaic Avenue and onto Buccaneer Way. They were greeted by bright lights illuminating the sky, holiday music, glistening floats, dancers dressed as snow angels, three hay-chomping camels, a giant star hung from a fire truck ladder and, of course, the Three Kings.
In keeping with the tradition of the holiday, which has long been celebrated in Spain as well as many Central and South American countries, each child received a gift. Three Kings Day, also called Epiphany, comes at the end of the 12 days of Christmas and commemorates the day that the three wise men first saw baby Jesus and brought him gifts.
“It’s amazing how popular this event has become in Belleville,” Melham said. “Between this event and the Winter Festival and Christmas tree-lighting event, Belleville shows that we are dedicated to making spirits bright and celebrating our rich diversity.”
The community event took the combined effort of the whole town, from the people who donated the toys to the volunteers who spent many hours wrapping them. Plus, members of the township’s police and fire departments helped make it a festive night, ensuring the camels weren’t too feisty.
The Three Kings Day event was supported by Belleville Policemen’s Benevolent Association Local 28, the Mayor Michael Melham Civic Association and the Belleville Republican Committee.
Photos Courtesy of Belleville Township