Once again, Sunset Park celebrated the start of the Christmas season with a bang!
For the 17th year, on Thursday, December 1, the Sunset Park Business Improvement District (BID) held its Christmas tree lighting outside Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church (OLPH), on the corner of 60th Street and Fifth Avenue.
Although the evening turned windy, hundreds of residents came out to enjoy the holiday cheer. Along with lighting up the tree, the event included musical performances by local schools and residents, a DJ, a fashion show presented by Anay’s Boutique, and an appearance by Santa himself.
Executive Director of the BID Renee Giordano was satisfied to host another successful event. “It was really windy yesterday, but that didn’t stop the performers who came and sang their hearts out,” she said, adding that Saint Nick was once again a main attraction. “The event was really great. People started at 2:30 to line up to have kids take pictures with Santa. We gave away about 350 goodie bags for the kids. It was exciting for them.”
St. Agatha’s, M.S. 136, the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church choir, and the Brooklyn Chinese American Association Afterschool at P.S. 105 were among the schools that performed, much to the delight of the students and their families.
“A lot of the parents of the kids that performed showed up to watch as well as some friends,” she said, adding the performers enjoyed every minute of singing. “They loved performing for the community and neighbors and being part of opening the holiday season and watching the tree light up. It’s a nice experience to know they’re a part of that.”
Two soloists, Tabitha Mehl and Chanel Paisley, also wowed the crowd with their singing ability. “Mehl used to be with the OLPH Twirlers and has a great voice,” Giordano said. “And Paisley has been coming to us for years to perform and we’ve seen her talented voice grow.”
Although the city has bigger trees and performances from big names, Giordano stressed the importance of local celebrations. “I prefer local performers coming to the neighborhood and celebrating,” she said. “Our performers come in together with the crowd and want to be a part of it.”
The lit tree’s impact will be felt in the neighborhood throughout the holiday season. “When they shop, we see during the season people visiting the tree and taking pictures,” Giordano said, stressing that, even as they shop, they are making memories.