By Kevin Kelley
The annual community Christmas tree lighting, held at the Gemini Center in recent years, will move outdoors this year. The date will change as well.
To be called Winterfest, the event will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. on West 214th Street on Nov. 29, the day after Thanksgiving. The section of West 214th Street between Lorain Road and where it branches into West 213th Street will be closed off during the festivities. Parking will be available at the nearby Fairview High School.
“We decided we really wanted to change it up,” said Bridget Hinkel, Mayor Eileen Patton’s administrative assistant, adding that recent tree lightings had become a bit stale. “We thought it should be more community-oriented.”
Hinkel is heading the committee organizing Winterfest, along with help from Terri Klopp and Danielle Danberg of the Fairview Park Fine Arts and Theater Association. Recreation Department Director Kenn Kaminski is also heavily involved.
As in previous years, entertainment will be a big part of the festivities. The theater group is planning to put on a play telling the story of Frosty, the Snowman. The Fairview Park Community Band’s Christmas Brass will play holiday tunes, and the Scarlet Singers, Fairview High School’s performance choir, will return with carols.
Of course, Santa is scheduled to be on hand to visit with children. Thanks to a donation from the Fairview Park Community Council, a couple of reindeer will make the trip from the North Pole, Hinkel said.
During the city’s summer festival, known as Summerfest, many civic organizations set up tables to sell items and raise funds. Hinkel said she’s planning on the same thing at Winterfest. Food will likely be a good seller, as the event takes place during the dinner hour, she said.
“We decided to call it Winterfest because it will be in the same vein as Summerfest,” Hinkel explained.
Although the event is free, a collection of nonperishable food items and hats or mittens will be taken for the Fairview Park Hunger Center.