Whitestone rang in the holiday season in a big way this Thursday evening.
More than 1,000 residents lined the streets of the Whitestone Village on Dec. 1 to see the second annual tree and holiday lighting ceremony hosted by the We Love Whitestone civic association, Whitestone Village Merchants Association and the Queens Chamber of Commerce.
The event featured performances by several local dance troupes, including the In Motion Dance Center and the Fitzpatrick Academy of Irish Dance. Santa Claus joined in the festivities and children lined up to fill him in on their wish lists and take photos with their families.
A toy collection for St. Mary’s Children’s Hospital was also set up at the event.
“As president of We Love Whitestone, I am humbled by the community response,” civic president Alfredo Centola said. “A ton of toys were collected for the St. Mary’s Children’s Hospital.”
The celebration was also funded by local residents and business owners, as well as Councilman Paul Vallone, who was present for the celebration.
“We all remember walking the light-filled streets with our parents during the holiday season and it’s always my goal to help bring the traditions we treasure back to our neighborhoods,” Councilman Vallone said. “Working hand in hand with the Whitestone Merchants Association, We Love Whitestone and the Queens Chamber of Commerce to organize this event and bring shoppers back to the village is something near and dear to my heart. I look forward to continuing this tradition for years to come.”