Poughkeepsie Celebrates 26th annual Celebration of Lights

Mayor Rolison and Santa posed with a young girl at her first parade.

POUGHKEEPSIE – The City of Poughkeepsie celebrated the 26th annual “Celebration of Lights” parade and tree lightings on Friday night.

The event, attended by a few thousand spectators, started on Main Street at Mural Square Park with the lighting of the midtown Christmas tree and then the parade headed down Main Street, turned on Clover Street and ended at Dongan Park in the Little Italy section of Poughkeepsie.  Once there, Santa climbed down from Poughkeepsie Fire Department  Tower Ladder 2 and greeted kids of all ages and then the elf helped light the park’s tree.

The Poughkeepsie River District Association, led by Noah’s Ark and Caffe Aurora sponsored the fireworks display to ring in the holidays.

First Friday played a role in the parade.

Poughkeepsie’s First Friday organization was a major component of the celebration at Dongan Park.  Ryan Michael, representing the First Friday organization said “It’s always exciting to walk down Main Street and see all of the families that brave the weather to enjoy this Poughkeepsie tradition.  When the Dongan tree illuminates, it really feels like the holiday season has arrived.”

When the parade arrived in Little Italy, Lou Strippoli of Caffe Aurora emceed the parade and announced the numerous floats and organizations to the delight of the watchers.  Dingee’s Towing, Brandl’s Towing, and Adams Fairacre Farms were just a few of the companies that joined in towing floats for organizations.  Bob Brandl, owner of Brandl’s Towing noted a major difference for his trucks in the parade.  “Typically our trucks are used at major accidents, many of which are traumatic.  To join in a festive occasion like this lets us give back to the community and be a part of something festive.”

Mayor Rob Rolison marched the entire parade and spent a considerable amount of time visiting with attendees prior to the fireworks.  “This annual festival is one of my favorite events.  It’s heartwarming to see the route lined with people enjoying the parade and it’s also an indicator of Poughkeepsie’s revival,” said Rolison before he joined Santa to greet the onlookers.  After thanking all those that made the event a success, Rolison took a moment to thank the city’s police and fire departments for their efforts.  “In addition to DPW, the city’s police and fire departments really help make this event special.  Our police kept everyone safe while Santa rode in the fire department’s Tower Ladder truck. Firefighter Matt Doherty did a great job piloting the truck that was Santa’s sleigh for the day.”

Cuneen-Hackett float

Mike Reed, owner of Noah’s Ark and a founding member of the Poughkeepsie River District Association said that his group supports the event as a way to thank his customers and attract new ones.  “Our members have been through bad times in the past but never lost hope.  Poughkeepsie is in the midst of a revival and we are proud to be part of its foundation.”

Poughkeepsie resident Darren Campbell appreciated the event and said “This is just one of many reasons that Poughkeepsie is coming back.  I remember when the city’s government was the cause of depression in the city, both emotionally and financially.  Rolison and his administration have made people Poughkeepsie proud again. The combination of the recovery and the festive spirit makes me proud to be a part of this city.

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