For the second year in a row, rain could not put a damper on the annual Christmas Tree lighting in Mineola Friday night. A slight mist had turned into a heavier pour as residents braved the rain, standing in the small parking lot between Piccola Bussola and the fire department headquarters to watch as mayor Scott Strauss and a group of children from each of the three elementary schools threw the switch on the new village Christmas tree that was planted between Halloween and Thanksgiving.
The previous 30-ft. spruce that had served as the village's tree since 2004 was badly damaged in Hurricane Sandy and did not survive the incredibly hot summer months.
Piccola Bussola owner Tony Lobrano came outside with cups of hot chocolate while inside the community center, members of the Mineola Junior Fire Department handed out handmade s’mores to those in line.
Inside the community center, the Chaminade High School Jazz Band provided the evening’s entertainment, playing carols including “Carol of the Bells,” “Jingle Bells” and “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” paving the way for Saint Nicholas to make his annual entrance via an escort from the Mineola Fire Department after the tree was illuminated. Father Christmas was joined by friends Rudolph, Frosty the Snowman and Sparky the Dalmatian, all of whom were crowded around by the children as the holiday icons made their way into the community center to meet everyone.
Among the other dignitaries present were Mineola Deputy Mayor Paul Pereira, Trustees Paul Cusato and Dennis Walsh.