Newington to celebrate all-day 'Night of Lights' Dec. 2

Published on Wednesday, 29 November 2017 21:21
Written by Erica Schmitt

Staff Writer

If Christmas fell on any other day of the year it would be this Saturday, Dec. 2 in Newington.

Holiday festivities are set to take place around town from dawn till dusk, as residents come together to celebrate the season alongside neighbors and friends.

It all begins in front of Walmart on the Berlin Turnpike around 9 a.m., with the Newington Police Department’s annual Stuff-a-Cruiser Drive. Now in its 13th year, the toy and gift collection puts presents under the trees of Newington families struggling financially. The town’s Department of Human Services distributes them to those who use its food bank all year and others in need. The drive will continue until 4 p.m.

Newington Parks and Recreation is injecting its Winter Wonderland activities and Night of Lights with a boost of enthusiasm and glee this year. Parks staff have been working diligently on a new holiday hay wagon for families to ride in Mill Pond Park from 1 to 3 p.m. and in Constitution Square from 5 to 7 p.m. The trailer has been outfitted with electrical wiring to play music and light up thousands of decorations adorning it.

“It’s spectacular,” Parks Superintendent Bill DeMaio said this week.

He’s also answered a call from residents to add more lights to the festivities downtown.

“We bought three times as many lights as we had last year; we really boosted that effort tremendously.”

During the afternoon period there will also be activities for kids inside the Mortensen Community Center at 131 Cedar St. Visit with Santa Claus and Jingles the Clown, watch a magic show by The Amazing Andy, ride a Zippy Pet, play games and have your face painted.

The Newington Night of Lights begins at 5 p.m. in the downtown district. A collaboration of Parks and Recreation and the Newington Chamber of Commerce, this annual event takes place in front of The Rooster Company, 1076 Main St. The evening begins with Newington Volunteer Fire Department’s Fire Truck Parade. Trucks will be dressed in their Christmas best and one will have the honor of escorting Santa to the party.

It’s also an opportunity to experience the musical talents of Newington youth.

Students from Newington High School, along with John Wallace and Martin Kellogg middle schools, are expected to lead a carol sing. The NHS girls’ basketball team led by Coach Rick Bangs will be distributing instruments for the youngest children to play. Intended for first-graders and under, this group will head up on stage to perform in front of the crowd. CMI Sound and Mike Bane is donating his time and equipment for the performance.

Free cookies and cider will be served throughout the evening.

“What a fabulous opportunity to enjoy family time and celebrate the holiday season with our entire community,” Parks Superintendent Bill DeMaio said. “This is an opportunity of a lifetime. All families should bring their members, including grandchildren and grandparents, to this night of total community spirit. Everything is free and there is something for every age group. Everyone will get in the holiday spirit and go home with a giant smile on their faces.”

To make the night more special, attendees are encouraged to bring a canned food item to benefit the Newington Food Bank. Families are also encouraged to contact the office at 860-665-8666 if they’d like to participate in singing the “Twelve Days of Christmas.” The department is looking for 12 families to take part.

They are also hosting the first-ever Holiday House Decorating Contest. Entrants are invited to bring a photograph of their decorated home or business to the office by Dec. 11 along with proof of Newington residency. Registration is $10 and entries will be judged by the number of “likes” they receive at Residents can win $100 to parks programs. Businesses are eligible for a $250 advertisement in the department’s brochure.

Erica Schmitt can be reached at 860-801-5097, or

Erica Schmitt can be reached at 860-801-5097, or

The Saturday, Dec. 2 holiday lineup:

9 a.m.-4 p.m. Newington Police Stuff-a-Cruiser - Walmart, 3164 Berlin Tpke.

1-3 p.m. Newington Parks and Recreation’s Winter Wonderland – Garfield St.

5-7 p.m. Newington’s Night of Lights - Main St.

Posted in Newington Town Crier, Newington News on Wednesday, 29 November 2017 21:21. Updated: Wednesday, 29 November 2017 21:24.