Winter wind and chill met its match on Sunday, December 7, at the first annual Fort Greene Park Tree Lighting Ceremony, where dozens of families gathered to celebrate the holiday season and bond over hot chocolate, coffee, cookies, Santa and even some Christmas carols.
At the center of the festivities was the 14-foot tall tree purchased from veteran local tree seller Santo (his station is right on Myrtle Avenue by Hall Street) and tricked out with simple yet brilliant decorations by the Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership (MABP) and Fort Greene Parks Conservancy (FGPC).
“We have 1,500 LED mini-lights and a 2-foot-tall ‘starburst’ tree topper,” said Daniel Scorse, director of public space initiatives at MABP, before passing the microphone to FGPC Chair Charles Jarden and local performer Jorell Williams, who led the crowd in an impressively harmonious rendition of 12 Days Of Christmas and I’ll Be Home For Christmas.
Santa Claus also made a triumphant entrance, walking through the crowd at Myrtle Avenue and Washington Park only to be mobbed by children scrambling to his feet to take a photo and say hi.
“Can I talk to Santa,” four-year-old Molly asked her parents. Dad Patrick Sauer chuckled, noting that this was Molly’s second Santa sighting in two days and “we’re curious how many she can see before she starts asking questions.”
For five-year-old Malik, the chance to meet Santa was second to his favorite part of the night — the glowing tree.
The event was a community affair, with snacks donated by Castro’s, Brooklyn Grind and Pushkin Creperie Bakery.
And local elected officials also made an appearance, including Assemblymember Joseph Lentol, Councilmember Laurie Cumbo, 57th Assembly District Leader Olanike Alabi, and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.