Christmas cheer lights up Wilton
WILTON — A lizard, remote-controlled car and a green tow truck — Santa got an earful at Friday night’s tree lighting celebration and Holiday Stroll as scores of children lined up to discuss their holiday wishes with him.
But before they got down to business, First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice welcomed all to the event and introduced some of Wilton’s newest residents: Schools Superintendent Kevin Smith who was there with three of his children, Sawyer, Avery and Liam.
“We’re really excited to be here,” said Smith, who was attending the celebration for the first time. The family had moved in the previous weekend. He said they had been looking to move to Wilton for some time and commented on “what a great event” the Holiday Stroll was.
Vanderslice also pointed out the new Norway spruce planted just last week, “instead of that Charlie Brown tree” that had done holiday duty for a number of years. After the countdown, the switch was flipped and 2,200 white lights — placed on the tree by a Parks and Recreation crew just days earlier — glowed on the Town Green.
A few minutes later the big man himself, arrived to cheers and applause on the Wilton Fire Department’s Engine 5 and made his way through the crowd, greeting his fans, to the gazebo where he held court for the better part of an hour and a half.
Waiting on line to visit with him were children of all ages includeing 6-year-old Massiso who said he was going to ask Santa for a remote-controlled car and a toy gun to practice his “aiming” because he wants to be “a policeman, an Army man and an engineer.”
Six-year-old Michael had a list of 17 things he would like under the tree Christmas morning including Legos and a lizard, although he did not specify if that was a live lizard or a toy.
With help from his mom, 3-year-od James said he wants a green tow truck.
Nine-year-od Juliet had a mor practical request — a duffel bag — for those short trips when her regular suitcase is just too much.
Mateo, 8, would like an electric skateboard and Matthew, also 8, said he would like a computer.
The Wilton High School Band entertained strollers with holiday music while they waited for the tree lighting and members of Girl Scout Troops 50260 and 51212 made their way up and down Old Ridgefield Road caroling: Calleigh Kovach, Lainey Kovach, Chloe Dubrock, Sofia Anello, Madden Albert, Scarlett DiCamillo, Kellogg Pettibone, and Lena O’Malley.
Set up on the Town Green were volunteers from Wilton Congregational Church with a craft table where children could decorate a green cross with spiritual stickers or create angel and star scrath art.
Wilton SWAG, which is an outgrowth of the Community Steps program that helps disabled adults from 18 to 21 find employment, had a table to raise awareness and hand out treats.
Also handing out treats were Wilton resident Juan Vega and his colleagues from NY Life Insurance, which serves Wilton from its Stratford office.
Bridget Chase, 10, ad Leila Ward, 9, were manning a table for Girl Scout Troop 50758 selling bird feeders members of the troop had made in the shape of a Christmas tree from birdseed, gelatin and corn syrup.
Good Morning Wilton served up potato latkes.
Strollers were encouraged to make their way down to the marshmallow roast at Schenck’s Island, and stop in at stores and businesses open to welcome visitors with treats and special offers including B Chic, Open House Gift Shop, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Classically Cate, Halstead Real Estate, Lang’s Pharmacy, River Road Gallery, Signature Style, Sweet Pierre’s, Town Center Toys, Village Market, and Wilton Hardware.
Many also made their way to Wilton Library to enjoy some wine and cheese, browse the holiday book sale, and warm up by the fire.