Written by Jill Nossa Thursday, 12 December 2013 00:00
Christmas has arrived in Glen Cove. Keeping with annual tradition, the Winter Festival was held in Village Square the Saturday after Thanksgiving, complete with live music, hot cocoa, horse and carriage rides, and of course, Santa.
Throughout the afternoon, residents took advantage of the free horse and carriage rides around town and Santa was available to take Christmas gift orders and pose for pictures. Despite the brisk air and increasingly dropping temperatures,
about 100 people gathered to hear the Glen Cove High School Jazz Band perform Christmas carols and other pieces, followed by some songs from the Select Chorale. The vocalists gave a preview of their upcoming performance at the White House in DC, where they will have the opportunity to sing this Friday. The jazz band is an award-winning ensemble, led by director Nicholas Carbuto.
As the sun began to set, battery-operated candlesticks were handed out for the Candlelight Ceremony; Rev. Betsey Simpson of the First Presbyterian Church of Glen Cove gave the invocation, speaking about the importance of remembering the meaning of the season despite all of the materialism that surrounds the holidays.
Before lighting the tree, Mayor Ralph Suozzi and Downtown BID Executive Director Francine Koehler thanked this year’s tree donors, the Ahern family of Glen Cove and gave some background on how the 40-foot pine, which had stood on the Welwyn Pratt Estate for years, came to be in Village Square.
Jerry Ahern and his wife, Susan, who died last year, moved into his mother-in-law’s house in 1980. His father-in-law, Roy Stoddard, had been the chief caretaker of the Welwyn Pratt Estate and planted many shrubs and trees around the property. Ahern said he was impressed by a large pine tree that got its roots from the Welwyn Pine Forest; in the ‘90s the tree split during a series of snowstorms, and new growth emerged.
“After the tree was removed there was a void in front of our house. One day, a seedling sprouted near the site of the old tree. It grew straight, tall and wide. We are sorry to see it go, but it has grown too large for our property,” said Ahern.
Ahern joined the mayor and members of City Council on stage and had the honor of lighting up the tree.