By Dawn M Chiossi
On Saturday, December 7th, Roxbury will be all aglow. Their 5th Annual Home for the Holidays Street Festival will transform Main Street in Succasunna and surrounding areas into a holiday wonderland.
For the past five years, the festival has closed off Main Street to traffic so that attendees can fully enjoy all of the festivities.
Roxbury’s Event Planning Team Member, Michele O’Halloran describes the event as a street festival/ block party. Yet for the people of Roxbury, it is so much more than that. Spilling out to the inside of the Roxbury Public Library and the Presbyterian and Methodist Churches, it is a much-anticipated tradition.
One that not only envelops people in the festivity, it also celebrates the community spirit of the town.
So far, over an impressive 2,000 people are expected to attend.
Sponsored and planned by Roxbury Township and their Main Street Streetscaping Committee, O’Halloran tells that the brainstorm for Home for the Holidays Street Festival began as an idea to show off the quaint, old-fashioned town of Roxbury. “The festival was organized in December of 2015 by the committee as a way to bring the community to the main street to celebrate and enjoy the newly installed Victorian-style town clock, lamp posts, and brick-edged sidewalks,” she says.
Roxbury’s Sue Anderson agrees. As one of the original members of Roxbury’s Streetscaping Committee, she and the rest of the members wanted to do something that would emphasize how nice the main street was. Anderson relates that the Home for the Holidays Street Festival idea came from a member for Roxbury to do something similar to Lake Mohawk’s German Christmas.
For Anderson, it was an idea that not only clicked but was inspirational.
As a woman with a life long love of her hometown and history (Anderson is a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Historical Society, and is actively involved in the historic Presbyterian Church) the idea was a perfect merging of her two passions.
“I’ve lived my whole life in Roxbury Township,” Anderson enthuses. “Did you know it was founded in 1740? I’m so proud. It’s a wonderful place to live, with so much to offer.”
Anderson likens the Home for the Holidays Festival to a winter Olde Succasunny Day, an event that Roxbury holds in September. Stating that Roxbury has always been a place that attracted families, she relishes how the Victorian-Style Christmas will give attendees a chance to chat, interact, and get to know others. “I love that the festival showcases so much of Roxbury.” Anderson prides. “So many people don’t always know what is here in their own town or think that it costs a lot of money to become involved in things. It doesn’t. The festival really opens up the various community groups and organizations to everyone, letting them know what is going on, and what they have to offer.”
Quickly spreading by word of mouth about what a fun family-friendly event it was, Roxbury’s Home for the Holidays Street Festival swiftly expanded every year.
Capturing the nostalgic feel-good ambiance of the season, there will be many festive delights to enjoy including: Santa, jingle-belled horses and carriage rides–complete with costumed carriage drivers, festive music, dancing, food trucks, and approximately 85 vendors for people to check out unique and handcrafted gifts for that essential holiday shopping.
There will be many returning favorites: Strolling carolers from Roxbury High School’s Classic Sounds Honors Choir, the children’s choir from Morris County Educare who will sing holiday songs in the gazebo by the library (something O’Halloran is looking forward to seeing), Irish Step Dancers dancing a lively jig, live music from the Roxbury Community Jazz Band, and Roxbury High School Band Ensembles. The Methodist Church will be having activities for the kids, puppet shows and hot drinks and treats. Attendees are invited to visit Presbyterian Church for their bakery cafe and purchase homemade goodies, coffee, tea or hot chocolate.
Always a hit, the costumed characters of Olaf, Anna and Elsa of Frozen fame will be delighting children to chat and take pictures.
“This is a fun-filled day for families to make holiday memories on Main Street, eat, shop and be merry!” O’Halloran enthuses.
Of all the returning favorites, perhaps the most favorite of all will be Santa himself. When he arrives on the fire truck at noon, he’ll enthusiastically greet the crowd and lead the children into the library for Santa Land. In addition to many delights, don’t forget to have a picture taken with Jolly Old St. Nicholas for a mere $5.00. It’s a fundraiser benefiting Roxbury’s Social Services.
There’s plenty of new events and activities for all to enjoy, and O’Halloran is excited for them all. Among them include tap dancers from the Future STEP Tap Company. For children, there will be a balloon artist setting up a special balloon-decorated photo booth, and there will be face painting too. As ugly sweaters have swiftly a hilarious gag of the season, the Home for the Holidays event will feature a brand new Ugly Sweater Contest. Not only is it for lots of laughs and fun, but participants may also win prizes.
In addition to some of the returning favorite food trucks to tempt the appetite, attendees will want to try new ones. Taxi Cab Burger will feature gourmet sliders, and Angry Archie’s will feature Lobster Rolls.
“People really love the festival,” O’Halloran shares. “Especially the chance to take a free carriage ride with jingle-belled horses. Many remark about the hometown, family-friendly feel that it has, and how it gets them in a holiday mood.”
For O’Halloran, Anderson, and the attendees of Roxbury’s Home for The Holidays Annual Street Festival, it’s what celebrations and traditions are made of. This day-long event will be held from the hours of 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Dec. 7.
For further information or details, please visit http://www.roxburynj.us/494/2019-Home-for-the-Holidays