Erie Station tree lighting makes dreams come true

Cookies, cakes, cocoa — and a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus

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  • Kayla Smith and Julianna Small with model train (Photo by Ginny Privitar)

  • Song of the Valley Sweet Adelines serenaded the crowd (Photo by Ginny Privitar)

  • Santa and Mrs. Claus inside the Erie Station (Photo by Ginny Privitar)

  • The crowd lines up to hear the Song of the Valley Sweet Adelines sing (Photo by Ginny Privitar)

  • The tree is lit! (Photo by Ginny Privitar)

  • Declan Wintermute, 2, joins Santa and Mrs. Claus (Photo by Ginny Privitar)

By Ginny Privitar

— As it has for so many years, Chester's annual tree-lighting brought out "oohs" and "aahs."

Once again, the Chester Historical Society hosted its celebration of the holidays at the 1915 Erie Station museum. This year, a menorah was also lit in celebration of Hanukkah.

The Song of the Valley group of Sweet Adelines sang songs of the season, and the Bruderhof Bellvale Community singers entertained the crowd on the train platform with Christmas carols.

Kayla Smith, 9, of Monroe was there with her grandmother, Town of Chester Councilwoman Cindy Smith. She said she was looking forward to “seeing the lights come on the tree.”

Plenty of sugarplums — make that cookies and cakes — were served to visitors, along with comforting cups hot cocoa, which took the edge off the cold evening.

There were folks who came year after year and newcomers, too. Julianna Theresa Small, 4, of Chester, was there with her grandmother, Lisa Jovino. Julianna was looking forward to seeing Santa and hoped for a Barbie Dream House, a Barbie camper and a "cry baby" this Christmas.

Mrs. Jovino was eager, too.

“I’m excited," she said. "I’ve never seen the tree-lighting in Chester before, and I’ve been here 40-some years."

New Chester residents Chris and Bridget Wintermute were there for the first time with their son Declan, age 2.

Young and old alike delighted in watching the model train run. E.J. Szulwach noted that when he worked on the farm with his mom and dad, the Erie trains helped tell the time of day.

“There was a train that came twenty after eleven, and that was my mom’s signal to go in the house and make lunch,” he said.

The children, of course, waited for the highlight of the evening — a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus. The famous pair posed for photos with the children. What a delight to see the wonder in those young eyes!

It was also a time for friends and neighbors to offer one another best wishes for the season.

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