Moorestown gets festive: The holiday season has come to town

There is no shortage of opportunities for residents to celebrate the season.

The temperature may be dropping, but the holiday season is just heating up in Moorestown. From lunch with Santa to a celebratory menorah lighting, there is no shortage of opportunities for residents to celebrate the season.

The Moorestown Lions Club will host its 58th Annual Holiday Parade on Saturday, Dec. 1. The parade begins at noon at the corner of Chester and Central avenues. The parade will feature performances by string bands, the Moorestown High School Band and the Liberty Band, as well as marching units and floats.

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This year’s theme is “Toyland,” with cash prizes being awarded to parade participants who best exemplify the theme. Parade Chairman Peter R. Thorndike said the theme was chosen because it is easily adaptable for participants to implement in their floats and marching groups in competition for prizes.

“We are closing in on our 60th parade, which will be in 2019; probably one-third to one-half of the people who watch the parade on parade day were in it themselves as children,” Thorndike said. “It is the essence of what is good about small town America.”

The parade begins at noon 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 Moorestown Knights of Columbus will host their Annual Luncheon with Santa immediately following the parade. The lunch will include a variety of food such as hot dogs, macaroni and cheese, potato chips, juice, soda, water, coffee and desserts, and children will have a chance to have their photograph taken with Santa.

“We provide a warm, inviting atmosphere to those who have been standing outside for the parade, along with some great comfort food,” said Stuart Altschuler, the event’s chairperson. “Plus the little ones have an opportunity to spend time with Santa early in the season.”

The event kicks off at 1 p.m. in the cafeteria of Our Lady of Good Counsel, and the cost of attendance is $5 per person.

Also taking place immediately after the parade on Saturday 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 highlights 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.

The Moorestown Business Association is also getting into the holiday spirit with its Holiday Stroll on Dec. 6 from 5 to 9 p.m. The event will take place along Main Street between Chester Avenue and Church Street.

Businesses will be decorated for the holidays, including holiday trees that they’ll personalize, and seasonal music will be broadcast in three locations along the streets. Santa will be visiting the stores and restaurants between 6 and 8 p.m. Additionally, the second annual Moorestown Holiday Ornament will be offered for sale that night only.

“Main Street is all about having special times where the community can gather together and experience the excitement and warmth the holidays have to offer,” said Holiday Stroll Co-Chair Christine Dash. “Our merchants will be open and offering special holiday deals. The streets will be hopping and holiday music will be playing all up and down our Main Street.”

Additionally, 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 that evening.

The Moorestown Community House is celebrating the season throughout December. For the second year, the Community House will host the Children’s Holiday Shop. Volunteers will help children shop for friends and family.

Caryn Lynch, executive director of the Moorestown Community House, said last year, hundreds of children came to shop, and this year, they have contracted with with a company to provide low-cost gifts for children to purchase for their family.

“This is the perfect place for children to discover the joy of giving,” Lynch said. “Many people fondly remember this type of experience from their own childhood. It’s wonderful for children to focus on their loved ones and pick the perfect gift all by themselves.”

The holiday shop will be open on Friday, Nov. 30 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. for a special needs shopping hour. The shop will have holiday general admission hours on Friday, Nov. 30, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 1, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 2, from noon to 3 p.m.

On Monday, Dec. 3, the Community House will host the 6th 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, and this year, the Moorestown Garden Club will be flipping the switch to light the tree.

The Moorestown Jewish Association will also light up the Community House Lawn this holiday season. A Hanukkah Menorah Lighting and Celebration will take place on Sunday, Dec. 9, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at the Community House.

The Chabad of Camden and Burlington Counties will be leading the menorah lighting on the front lawn, and then attendees can head inside for a Hanukkah celebration. Odessa Klezmer Band will be the live entertainment with festive Hanukkah music.

“I believe it’s especially important this year to stand together as a strong community to celebrate Hanukkah,” said MJA member Caryn Shaw. “In light of the recent sadness brought to us by the tragedy in Pittsburgh, as well as the rise in hate crimes throughout the nation. We are looking to celebrate the goodness and hope that Hanukkah brings.”

The event is open to anyone and is free to attend. Donations online at moorestownjewishassociation.org or at the door are appreciated. Attendees should please RSVP by Dec. 5 via the association’s website.

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