Massapequa Park ushered in the yuletide season in their usual grand and family-friendly style at the Village Hall this weekend, as they hosted their annual Holiday Open House.
A fun-filled extravaganza for kids of all ages and their parents, the Holiday Open House is a long-standing tradition in the Village that Mayor James Altadonna said helps tie the community together.
“We’ve been going this now for at least the past 15 years,” he said. “Opening the Village Hall has always been a wonderful time, because we get to celebrate our children’s talents and neighbors come in to meet each other year after year. It’s just a nice way to kick off the holidays.”
Upstairs, in the courtroom, attendees were treated to some festive holiday music and songs provided by the Massapequa High School Orchestra and the Eastlake Bell Chorus. Later, jolly old Santa Claus himself took center stage, and the line of kids waiting to discuss the finer points of the Christmas lists with him easily stretched out the courtroom’s door.
Meanwhile, in the downstairs area, a grand Christmas tree was erected, and surrounding that tree was a wide array of child-oriented wonderment and cheer. Tables were set up around the room filled with free toys and trinkets donated by the businesses of Massapequa Park, and handing out the goodies, as usual, were members of the Massapequa Park senior center.
Roseann Vainder, director of the senior center, said that she and her ladies have been participating in the Village’s Open House for about 15 years or so.
“We have a lot to be thankful for this year, as we didn’t have any damage at the center after Hurricane Sandy hit us...we didn’t even lose power at all,” she said. “We were just fine, and we’re happy to be here handing out treats for the kids, as we always are.”
Also on-hand were Muno, and cheerful and friendly monster from popular children’s show "Yo Gabba Gabba," as well as Dora The Explorer; both ready to give a kid a hug and pose for a photo. And let’s not forget Lenbo the Clown, who entertained the kids with fantastic balloon sculptures; the Girl Scouts, who provided face painting; or the free cookies and refreshing beverages.
Faith Malone attended the Open House with her two daughters, and she said she always makes a point of coming.
“It’s just a lovely thing that the Village does to start the holidays, and the girls always enjoy it,” she said. “It’s one of the reasons I really enjoy being part of this community.”
Her daughter Sarah had just finished informing Santa of the various Nintendo products she had been expecting to find under the tree this year, but when asked exactly what she had requested, she was reluctant to answer.
“I can’t tell you what I asked him for,” she whispered. “It’s like when you blow out the candles on a birthday cake, I think...if you tell, it won’t come true.”