The annual tree-lighting ceremony kicks off more than a month of events that celebrate the city's diversity and unique cultural assets. The full roster of events is available at City Hall and the Plainfield Public Library in the "Get Into the Spirit of Downtown" flier highlighting the Urban Enterprise Zone's 3 percent sales tax savings at registered UEZ retailers.
On Friday, young singers and dancers performed on the steps of City Hall and Mayor-Elect Sharon Robinson-Briggs and City Administrator Norton Bonaparte jointly lit the city's holiday tree before youngsters swarmed inside to meet Santa and receive gifts.
Santa had a bit of a wardrobe malfunction before the children arrived, as his padded "belly" kept slipping out of his red-and-white costume. Then his cell phone rang somewhere under the layers, resulting in some poking and prodding to locate the device.
Mrs. Santa, portrayed by Laurel Edwards of the Recreation Division, looked on bemusedly.
On a very serious note, city officials recognized two detectives who spent two weeks assisting in Katrina Hurricane relief. Detectives Tindaro Caminiti and Jerry Plum each received copies of a proclamation by Mayor Albert T. McWilliams recognizing their service in what has been deemed the nation's worst natural disaster. They served with the Union County Emergency Response Team, Caminiti said.
Robinson-Briggs, who takes office on Jan. 1, urged residents to work for "unity in the city."
Upcoming events include several concerts, downtown horse and wagon rides and a Kwanzaa celebration Dec. 31 at Washington School.