Waterbury-LaSalle Christmas Tree Lighting on Sunday, Dec. 16

Deck the halls – and Schneider Sampson Square Park too.

The Waterbury-LaSalle Community Association will once again host its annual tree lighting, and meeting with Santa Claus for children, at Schneider Sampson Square on Sunday, Dec. 16.

Last year, over 100 children and adults gathered to sip hot chocolate, light the park’s tree, and have the kiddies enjoy a visit from Santa Claus who arrived on an antique horse-drawn sleigh to give out toys and take pictures. This year promises to be just as magical when the celebration begins at 4:45 p.m, said WLCA board member Mary Jane Musano.

“It is something that we look forward to every year,” said Musano, who added that planning begins in August.

“It seems like this event is not just for the kids. We have members who come without kids, and it is kind of like a Christmas gathering for our organization and the community.”

This year, children from the Primavera Italian Language Program, which the WLCA sponsors, will sing Christmas carols in Italian, said Musano.

In previous years, the organization has coordinated with the First Lutheran Church of Throggs Neck opposite the park, so that parishioners coming out of services step right into the celebration, she said, stressing the deep community roots of the celebration.

As in previous years, Chateau Stables, located in Manhattan and owned by local resident Gloria McGill, will be providing the horse-drawn sleigh.

“Gloria is wonderful,” said Musano. “She does this and never asked for a penny.”

As they have for years, International Caterers of Distinction at 3243 Ampere Ave. is donating hot chocolate and other refreshments.

And the WLCA’s own Andrew Chirico will wire a car for sound and play holiday songs, said Musano, as he has also done for years.

“Waterbury LaSalle Community Association couldn’t afford this if so much was not donated,” said Musano.

Santa Claus will be played, as in past years, by veterans advocate Anthony Ferrara, said Musano.

Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at procchio@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3393

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