Community members celebrated the start of the holiday season with free photos with Santa, DJ music, kid-friendly entertainment and free hot chocolate at the 7th annual Christmas Tree Lighting event on Mt. Prospect Avenue in Newark’s North Ward. Sponsored by Mt. Prospect Partnership (MPP) and the Anibal Ramos, Jr, Civic Association, the family-friendly event had children and adults alike dancing in the street along with Santa and Polka Dot the Clown. The day’s celebration started earlier in the afternoon with visits to local schools by Santa and MPP board members, escorted by the Newark Fire Department.

MPP Board members were joined by Councilmen Anibal Ramos, Jr., Carlos Gonzalez and Luis Quintana at the event, along with representatives of the Susan B. Komen Foundation, who accepted a donation of $1,000 raised at MPP’s Hot Rods & Classic Car Show in September.

Dr. Arthur Badillo, a founding member of the Partnership, recalled hosting planning meetings for the organization at his Mt. Prospect Avenue office, and found it fitting that the Christmas tree at the center of the holiday celebration was located directly in front of his office. “It’s wonderful that the kids of our community and their families are benefitting from the hard work and dedication of the Partnership’s volunteers who are contributing to the positive changes in our streetscape and new development in our neighborhood,” Badillo stated.

Investors Bank VP/Branch Manager and MPP board member Lissette Morales said the bank’s financial support for the event reflected Investors’ commitment to service in the communities where its branch offices are located. “It’s extra special when our efforts are rewarded with the smiling faces of children and their parents at events like this annual celebration on the Avenue,” Morales added.

MPP District Administrator Chris Bernardo noted how important the effort was in connecting the Partnership with local residents, business owners and investors. “We have seen significant and positive changes on Mt. Prospect Avenue, and events like our holiday celebration bring people together to appreciate ongoing streetscape improvements and the clean, safe and welcoming environment the Partnership has worked so hard to foster as a catalyst for an even brighter future,” he concluded.

For more information about the event, or other programs and services provided by the Partnership, visit


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