Paramus Borough Winter Wonderland Tree Lighting Ceremony
By Mel Fabrikant Sunday, December 15, 2013, 08:40 PM EST
Despite a heavy snowstorm, the Winter Wonderland Ceremony under the direction of former Councilman Dennis Arslanian and Event Coordinator Diane Marichal managed to come through with a celebration worthy of Paramus. When a snowstorm was predicted, Mayor Rich LaBarbiera decided that the safety of the residents came first; he postponed the event for one day. In a sense, it was for the best, as Councilwoman Donna Warburton said, because it was done on a day when Paramus belonged to Paramus, thanks to the Blue Laws. Of course it took a lot of behind the scenes rushing around cancelling scheduled appearances and rescheduling them for the next day. This included the rides, the food, games and entertainment.
Several departments worked into the wee hours of the morning to make it happen. That included the Shade Tree and Parks Department . the DPW (whose main thrust was clearing the Paramus streets), and Rich Abbamont and his Building and Grounds staff. The event crew had to print out notices of the date change and distribute them to places in Paramus so that the citizens would know in addition to the rearranging of the scheduled entertainment and food. www.ParamusPost.com carried the changeover article!
The Mayor arranged for a student from an autistic school to light the tree at the planned 4:30 time. He did it by using a wireless remote control which he handed to the student. The audience then counted down from 10 to 1, the switch was thrown and miraculously, the tree lights went on! This was done after a concert by the Paramus 4th grade Glee Club who helped in the count down as well.
People and organizations who donated to the festival were: Servpro of Paramus, The Outlets At Bergen Town Center, Prestige Motors, Paramus Sunrise Rotary, Red Lobster, Bahama Breeze, Olive Garden, Long Horn, French Fry Heaven, Suburban Diner, Boswell Engineering, Breslin & Breslin Attorneys At Law, Marzulli Real Estate, Kauker & Kauker Planners, Office Depot, Lowes, Harrows and several others.
The Mayor commented that it has come a long way from the time, years ago, that Sue Regan of the Recreation Commission started it!