’Tis the Season: the holidays are coming to Moorestown

This December, Moorestown residents can attend a number of festive holiday events taking place in town.

The holiday season is underway in Moorestown. From parades to visits from Santa Claus and menorah lightings, December is filled with festivities sure to entertain residents of all ages.

The Moorestown Lions Club will host the 57th Annual Holiday Parade on Saturday, Dec. 2. The parade begins at noon a the corner of Chester and Central avenues. This year’s theme is “Winter Frolic,” with cash prizes being awarded to parade participants who best exemplify the theme.

Parade Chairman Peter R. Thorndike said each year, the Lions Club tries to have a different holiday oriented theme. He said they decided that “Winter Frolic” was broad enough to let participants express their creativity in any number of ways.

“The idea is to give them a broad scope in which they can come up with ideas,” Thorndike said.

The parade will feature performances by strind bands, bag pipers, the Moorestown High School Band and the Liberty Band as well as marching units and floats.

Around 300 kids participate each year. Thorndike said for many, the parade is a nostalgic experience, as adults who once participated themselves can watch their children join in on the fun.

“It’s a production wherein probably a third to half of people viewing the parade were in it themselves when they were growing up in town,” Thorndike said. “It’s a little piece of small town Americana.”

The parade begins at Central and Chester avenues and travels to Main Street until it reaches Church Street. The procession will then proceed to Memorial Field.

There is no entry fee to join the parade, and any Moorestown-based organization is welcome to join. Groups wishing to participate should contact Thorndike during the day at (856) 795–1090 or in the evening at (856) 234–7345 to register.

The 2017 Moorestown Knights of Columbus 11th Annual Lunch with Santa with take place immediately following the parade. Hosted by the Moorestown Knights of Columbus Council №1082, this event gives children a chance to have lunch and meet Santa Claus.

From 1 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 2, the luncheon will feature hot dogs, macaroni and cheese, potato chips, juice, soda, water, coffee, desserts and more. The cost of attendance at the event held in the Our Lady of Good Counsel cafeteria is $5 per person.

Greg Klint, a member of the Knights of Columbus, said what makes the event particularly special is the same individual has played their Santa for the last 10 years. He said the lunch enables parents to kill two birds with one stone — the family gets to have a nice lunch and meet Santa, he said.

“It’s a fun time; it feels alive,” Klint said. “It’s a lot of people walking around and having fun.”

Also taking place immediately after the parade on Saturday, Dec. 2 is the MoorArts Holiday Arts Festival, from 1 to 4 p.m. on the third floor of the Church Street Recreation Center.

The Holiday Arts Festival is sponsored by MoorArts in collaboration with the Moorestown Parks and Recreation Department. The event is meant to highlight the talents of the town’s young artists and performers. Artwork ranging from painting, sketches, sculpture and photography was selected from work submitted by Moorestown students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

Festival-goers can listen to live music performed by elementary- and middle school-aged students. Children can also make a holiday-themed craft or get their faces painted at no charge. There will be light snacks for attendees.

“I just think it’s a great way to shine a light on the amazing work the fine and performing arts do in the district,” MoorArts’ treasurer Lorrie Hullfish said.

The Moorestown Community House is also getting into the holiday spirit with its week of Holiday Happiness, which kicks off on Friday, Dec. 1 from 6 to 8 p.m. and on Saturday, Dec. 2 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. with the inaugural Children’s Holiday Shop. Volunteers from the MHS Interact Club and MooreKids will help children shop for friends and family. Caryn Lynch, executive director of the Moorestown Community House, said the event will feature inexpensive items for children to purchase. The event is cash only.

“A lot of parents remember having this type of shop when they were little,” Lynch said.

On Monday, Dec. 4, the Community House will host the 5th Annual Tree Lighting and Holiday Celebration on the lawn starting at 5:30 p.m. Community House staff and trustees invite residents to gather on the front lawn of the Community House to enjoy musical entertainment and hot chocolate as they light the tree.

The featured musical entertainment will be the Philly Pops and the Moorestown Madrigals. Hot chocolate will be provided by from Brandywine Senior Living, cookies and water from Wegmans and candy canes compliments of the Community House staff and board of Trustees.

MooreKids will be collecting shelf-stable breakfast foods, such as granola bars and cracker packs while Live Civilly will be collecting warm winter coats and Toys for Tots.

The final event taking place during the week of Holiday Happiness is on Wednesday, Dec. 6. The Community House will be featured on the Cooks Tour of Moorestown. Attendees can come see the house decorated for the holidays. The newly-renovated Club Room, Bridal Suite, Board Room and historic Library space will all be featured.

Tours will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Dec. 6. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit cookstour.ticketleap.com.

The Moorestown Jewish Association is also keeping busy this holiday season. On Dec. 10 at 7:30 p.m., the MJA will host a Hanukkah Concert and Celebration featuring accapella group The Maccabeats. The event will take place at the Moorestown Community House with doors opening at 7:15 p.m. Tickets are $25 for adults, $18 for kids and children under three can attend for free.

To purchase tickets, visit moorestownjewishassociation.org.

A pre-event party kicks off at 6:30 p.m., which will feature food, Hanukkah treats and raffle tickets.

The Moorestown Menorah Lighting will take place on Tuesday, Dec. 19 at the Moorestown Community House. The event is free to attend. The night kicks off at 6 p.m. and will feature latkes, doughnuts, dreidels and gelts.

Marla Deibler, president of the MJA, said the lighting is a particularly special event for the Moorestown Jewish community to come together since there is not a temple in Moorestown.

“For years, the Jewish community in town wanted to have a place where they could come together,” Deibler said. “Friends in town and the kids who go to school together don’t have a central place where they can come together to celebrate Hanukkah. It’s a nice public celebration, and everyone is welcome to attend.”

In keeping with the holiday spirit, the Moorestown Business Association will host the “Holiday Stroll” on two nights. On Thursday, Nov. 30, the MHS Madrigals will perform on Main Street from 6 to 8 p.m. That evening the winners of the MBA and The Sun’s joint “What the Holidays Mean to Me” art contest will be announced on the lawn of the Moorestown Community House.

On Thursday, Dec. 14, a meet and greet with Santa Claus will take place on the Community House Lawn.

Christine Dash, the Holiday Stroll co-chair, said the Holiday Stroll nights are all about showcasing all Moorestown has to offer.

“We’re really trying to make it more of an event, a destination, for a lot of reasons: to get people in holiday spirit and drive more people here to Moorestown, to help people rediscover Moorestown as as shopping destination, eating destination and potentially new business destination.”

Dash said this year, they asked local business to sponsor a tree, so Main Street will be lined with trees that each business was allowed to decorate as they saw fit.

“All of the trees will be lining the street and all will be lit,” Dash said. “We really wanted to create a very festive event.”

The MBA also developed a holiday ornament that will be available for purchase at various shops along Main Street. This marks the first year the MBA has done this, but Dash said it will certainly not be the last. The plan is to make the ornaments something of a collector’s item with a new Moorestown icon featured each year. This year’s ornaments feature Moorestown’s iconic nipper dogs. The proceeds from the ornaments will benefit a Moorestown non-profit organization.