Park Slopers were dashing through the rain under umbrellas on Third Street for the third annual tree lighting hosted by the Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District on Tuesday night.
Despite the December showers, over 100 people congregated for an evening filled with carols, holiday spirit and a 20-foot artificial tree.
Students from MS 51’s Show Choir sang classics like "Baby it's Cold Outside,” "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" and “Frosty the Snowman,” which warmed the crowd of parents and young children with holiday cheer.
Rolie Polie Guacamole, a Park Slope-based children’s music band, inspired many of the kids to dance by playing their own rockin’ versions of "Jingle Bells,” “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” and “Deck The Halls,” with guitarist and lead vocalist Frank Gallo and bassist Andrew Tuzhilin.
This year, out of the three-year-old tradition, had the best turnout yet, said Irene LoRe, the Fifth Avenue BID’s executive director.
“This is a rain or shine neighborhood,” LoRe said while standing next to the tree with her daughter after the lighting, adding that about 150 people came for the event. “Nights like this one are how we want to continue to add value to the neighborhood and Fifth Avenue.”
The star of the evening was of course Santa Claus, who gave out candy canes, hugs, an ear to all the kid’s holiday wishes and posed for photographs.
Betsy Akram, who has been Santa at the tree lighting for the past two years, said she had a good time being the jolly gift-giver.
“It’s lots of fun and exciting to see the kids and their smiling faces,” Akram said.
Rolie Polie Guacamole, which Gallo and Tuzhilin founded in 2006 by playing “guerrilla playground shows,” had a dedicated audience of toddlers, who danced and sang along to the band’s original numbers.
“It’s great seeing the kids who have grown up with us for the past three years,” Gallo said. “It was a festive evening.”
Scroll through the photos and read quotes from the tree lighting goers!