The Village of Mineola officially welcomed the Christmas season Friday night with its annual lighting of the village Christmas Tree.
Warmer temperatures than the ones greeted the crowd, which was estimated as being close to 200, filling the parking lot between the and . Still, that did not stop restaurateur Tony Lubrano from handing out cups of hot chocolate to the crowd.
The Jazz Band entertained the crowd with a number of Christmas carols while 10 year old Benjamin Truncale III displayed his vocal prowess as he performed “Silent Night” and “Ave Maria.” Along with a group of other choir members, the young singer will be travelling to Italy for a performance before the Pope.
Several students from the and schools lent a hand with throwing the switch for the 30-ft. spruce, which has served as the village tree since 2004.
Among the other dignitaries present were Mineola Deputy Mayor Paul Pereira, Trustees Paul Cusato, Lawrence Werther and George Durham, acting Village Justice Richard O'Callaghan, Village Justice John O'Shea, former Mineola Deputy Mayor and Trustee John DaVanzo, State , and Mineola Veterans of Foreign Wars Private Adolph Block Post #1305 Commander Manny Grilo.
Shortly after the lighting, the Mineola Fire Department drove Santa Claus up to the scene atop one of its engines along with Rudolph, Frosty and Sparky the fire dog.
The crowd then filed into the for refreshments and for the children to meet Santa.