On the Avenue: Visits from Santa among holiday happenings here

Holiday cheer is prevalent “on the avenue” and throughout Brooklyn as business and civic groups continue to provide for the community by way of sales and specials as well as donation drives to benefit those less fortunate.

On Third Avenue in Bay Ridge, the Merchants of Third Avenue Civic Improvement Association is sponsoring its second annual “Winter Sidewalk Stroll on 3rd” this weekend, Dec. 11 and 12. Families can bring their children to meet Santa Claus on 83rd Street and Third Avenue from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. both days.

From there they can shop ’til they drop along the bustling thoroughfare to stock up on gifts for their loved ones. The best part, according to Merchants board member Jeanine Condon, is that the event allows families to experience the merriment of Third Avenue while supporting local businesses.

“We’re really excited about our second annual ‘Winter Sidewalk Stroll’ because it brings so many families to the avenue to experience the sights and sounds of the holiday season,” Condon said. “It’s the perfect time to see the festive holiday lights that are hanging along Third Avenue, meet Santa and show support for our neighbors in business by strolling from shop to shop in search of the perfect gift for loved ones this holiday season.”

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The festivities continue on Third Avenue when the Merchants Association hosts its Annual Holiday Party on Monday night, Dec. 13 at Sofia’s Restaurant, 8406 Third Ave., beginning at 7 p.m. All attendees are asked to bring one new unwrapped toy to be donated to the Olivia Boccuzzi Foundation’s 10th Annual Holiday Toy Drive. All toys will be donated to children at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, according to officials.

The foundation was founded in honor of Olivia Marie, who was nearly 3 when she lost her 11-month battle with a PNET brainstem tumor, a form of childhood cancer. The Olivia Boccuzzi Foundation honors her memory by raising money for pediatric brain tumor research.

Merchant leaders are encouraging the community to “network, mingle and jingle all the way to Sofia’s Restaurant” for a festive evening and the chance to support a worthy cause.

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It’s busy season for Santa Claus! After his visit to Third Avenue this weekend, he’ll be strolling along Fifth Avenue in Bay Ridge alongside the Broadway Carolers to bring cheer to merchants and shoppers alike on Saturday, Dec. 18, from 2 to 5 p.m.

Be sure to head over to the Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District’s Christmas tree display near Coldwell Banker Reliable on Bay Ridge Parkway (75th Street) to hear a final performance by the carolers and meet Santa! That performance takes place from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The next day, Santa will make his return with a special horse and carriage display “on the avenue” outside PC’s Bar & Grill, 7215 Fifth Ave.

Families can come and welcome Santa as he arrives via horse and carriage. The event, sponsored by Bill Boshell of Super Roofer, begins at noon.

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Further north on Fifth, the Sunset Park Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District held its annual holiday tree-lighting ceremony Dec. 3 outside Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, 545 60th St.

Children lined up to take a photo with Santa Claus inside a trolley car and each child received a holiday goodie bag, courtesy of the BID.

BID Executive Director David Estrada was happy that this year’s event was a return to form.

“The Sunset Park Business Improvement District is proud to sponsor community traditions like the holiday tree lighting and the winter avenue lights,” Estrada said. “We hope merchants, neighbors and shoppers feel happy when they see our bright holiday cheer during the darkest nights of winter. For the tree lighting, we’re especially thankful for support from the NYPD 72nd Precinct, and our longtime hosts, OLPH.”

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Kiwanis Club of Bensonhurst President Thomas Aellis (second from left) accepts the Community Partners Award from Community for Kids Co-Chairs Frank Naccarato (left) and Brian Long (far right) along with Maimonides Medical Center President and CEO Kenneth Gibbs. Photo courtesy of Ben-Bay Kiwanis Club

Just because an event taking place “on the avenue” doesn’t feature Santa Claus, that doesn’t mean it’s not festive. Just ask any of the 300 guests in attendance last Thursday evening, Dec. 2 at Maimonides Medical Center’s Community for Kids Benefit!

Held at El Caribe Caterers, 5945 Strickland Ave., attendees were treated to an evening of elegant dining and dancing along with a special performance from popular dance group Lime that had the dancefloor packed with business and civic leaders.

Among the evening’s honorees was the Kiwanis Club of Bensonhurst & Bay Ridge, which received a special Community Partners Award for its commitment to helping children in need. Club President Thomas Aellis accepted the award on behalf of the club members. Aellis himself was then recognized alongside fellow Kiwanians William Bradley, Ernesto Cappello, Albert Corhan and Scott Palma with a special Pediatric Community Service Award for their individual work on behalf of children.

Third Avenue Festival Chairman Chip Cafiero, who is also a Kiwanian and serves as director of community and external relations for Adelphi Academy of Brooklyn, was honored with the same medal for his 40-plus years of service to the community.

Longtime Third Avenue Festival Chairman Chip Cafiero, who also serves as Adelphi Academy of Brooklyn’s director of external and community relations, was honored for his decades of work on behalf of children in need. Photo courtesy of Adelphi Academy of Brooklyn

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