One of my favorite memories as a child was standing out front of Ridgewood’s Biltmore Tuxedo on a cold winter’s night. And no, this is not a story about how my parents recklessly abandoned me on a street corner in Ridgewood, this is a story about the magic of winter in our community.
If you have stared into the window of Biltmore in the month December, you have experience the revelry I felt as a child watching their animatronic Christmas display. I spent hours swept into a world of wonderment, watching as tiny plastic figure skaters moved around in concentric circles and toy children enjoyed a repetitive journey down a never ending hillside. The bright colors of the holidays in Ridgewood, all encapsulated in a tiny bubble of miniature people. Ridgewood is still filled with the same hustle and bustle in the winter months.
The winter activities kick off with the “Downtown For the Holidays” celebration. This year, our tree-lighting and caroling extravaganza by the train station, takes place on Friday, December 4. Ridgewood High School students are active participants in this event. The RHS Carolers and Marching Band travel throughout the town bringing Christmas cheer to those who are lucky to come across them. Other students are featured on the stage near the tree, performing with many different Ridgewood arts organizations. The night culminates in the lighting of a huge Christmas tree, which stays in Ridgewood until after the holiday.
During this time, Santa Claus sets up downtown in Van Neste Park. Starting on December 5, children from the community have the opportunity to meet this jolly man, have their lists checked, and their “goodness” throughout the year confirmed. These meetings continue each Saturday until Christmas.
Starting on December 6, Ridgewood begins to light a menorah to celebrate Hanukkah. These festivities end eight days later on December 14. The YMCA becomes it’s own little forest, as Christmas trees pop in the parking lot. Many families from around the village pick out their holiday centerpiece from this spot every year.
The calendar of events in Ridgewood is continuously changing. In years past, event such as the “Fire and Ice” party at Graydon started as a result of the weather. The best way to stay up to date on what is happening in Ridgewood during the winter is the Chamber of Commerce website: http://www.ridgewoodchamber.com.
Before we all go crossing our fingers for snow days to confirm our faith in winter’s ability, we should look to the beauty and festivity of the season in central Ridgewood. And not just in the display outside of the Tuxedo store, but in the community itself. Winter is a time to get out and enjoy Ridgewood.