When Lisa Toussaint hatched the idea of "Raising Berlin," a group of moms who would have a positive impact on Berlin, she dreamt of nights like Saturday night at Veterans Park.
Hundreds of residents of all ages came out to watch Santa Claus get a special ride from a Kensington Fire Department truck and light a Christmas tree in the new park.
"Raising Berlin" and the tree lighting have come a long way in three years.
The first year, there were technical difficulties in the music and getting the tree, which at that time was in the VFW lot, to actually light.
Saturday night, the entertainment by students from the McGee Chorus was excellent. The showing of 'Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer' on a movie screen drew a large crowd of children. The line for free hot chocolate moved quickly. The pizza from San Remo Bakery was fresh and hot and inexpensive. Residents who came to the park even got to see an exhibition of snow boarding tricks from youngsters sponsored by the Cutting Edge.
Mayor Adam Salina addressed the crowd and right on cue, introduced Santa's arrival. Santa traversed the bridge leading to Veterans Park and proceeded to climb the ladder. "10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1, Merry Christmas" and the tree was lit.
"This is what I had in mind when we decided to do the first tree lighting," Toussaint said. "We have had such great cooperation from the whole town. Adam Salina and Denise McNair have been so supportive from the jump. Mark Lewandowski and the firemen have been great. They have been out here decorating the gazebo and the whole park along with the Lions. And the members of the organization has done so much to make this what it has become."
The park, which was dedicated this year, provided a great gathering place. It was roomy but intimate at the same time. The above average temperatures also didn't hurt.
"We would love to do some more events like this in town but we need the funding," Toussaint said. "We are going to host two movie nights this year and a few more things to raise money. That will go right back into events like this. We're really happy with how things turned out and how many people came out and how many kids are enjoying themselves."