YONKERS, N.Y. – The lights were bright and the mood was merry Thursday in downtown Yonkers.
Dozens of residents braved the chilly weather, joining city officials and business owners for the 12th Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony in downtown Yonkers. A cheer echoed through Getty Square as the 25-foot tree was illuminated for the first time this year and the holiday season began in Yonkers.
“This kicks off the holiday celebration,” Mayor Mike Spano said. “It’s about family, togetherness and sharing the holiday spirit.”
Residents packed onto the corner of Main and New Main streets for the two-hour evening tree lighting ceremony, hosted by the Downtown Business Improvement District (BID) and City of Yonkers.
Visitors sipped hot chocolate or snacked on churros while Christmas carols played over the loudspeakers.
The most popular man of the season even made an appearance, listening to children’s Christmas wishes and posing for pictures with his wife, Mrs. Claus.
Shortly before 5 p.m., the crowd counted down from 10 and as the clock hit zero, the holiday tree was illuminated with hundreds of colorful light bulbs.
Afterwards, Yonkers Idol Aliexis Newman took the stage, belting out a rendition of “Santa Clause Is Coming To Town.” She was followed by a performance from the band “Roxy’s All Star Revue.”
Steve Sansone, executive director of BID, said the annual tree lighting ceremony is an important event that brings the community together during the holiday season.
“We are thrilled the tradition continues and merchants and residents come to enjoy the celebration and live performances,” he said.
For many in Getty Square, the tree lighting ceremony is a family tradition.
“I’ve got my niece here with me and we’re all just really in the holiday spirit,” Selena Watkins said. “This is great.”