A tremendous amount of community support has been shown for a Christmas in the Park program and holiday lighting project in Palmerton.
A meeting of the Palmerton Holiday Lighting Committee was held Wednesday at the home of residents Joe and Marj Federanich.
To date, committee member Michele O'Neill said "The response has been overwhelming."
"We've had an awesome response from the community in both the donations toward the holiday lights, and excitement to participate in our new Christmas in the Park festival," O'Neill said. "It shows how the people of Palmerton come together as a community, and we can't wait until the next few months to see how this blooms and hopefully becomes an annual tradition."
The committee hopes to have decorated trees from various members of the community in time for the Christmas in the Park program, which will be hosted by the committee from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, in the borough park.
O'Neill said the event will serve as the kick off to the holiday season, with the lighting of the new park lights and the Christmas trees. The group also plans to reach out to various groups in the community to provide Christmas music. Santa will be there for the kids, and vendors will sell baked goods.
The trees would line the walkways of the park, and be lit and decorated by the sponsor in time for the event, O'Neill said. Each tree will be unique, and will have the sponsor noted on the plaque by their tree, said O'Neill, who added the trees will remain up through the holiday season for all to come and enjoy.
The committee said Sunday, Dec. 1, would be the date to set up and decorate the trees, while Friday, Dec. 6, would be the last day to decorate them.
O'Neill said trees can still be purchased. In addition, she said participants are still being sought for entertainment, as well as vendors to provide some baked goods, and arts and crafts.
Anyone who would like to purchase a tree, or serve as a vendor, may contact O'Neill at (610)-737-4503.
Committee member Susan Choy said she, too, has been impressed with the high level of support.
"I am just amazed at the community," Choy said. "I'm just flabbergasted."
Joe Federanich, committee chairman, noted that the community support at this past weekend's Palmerton Community Festival was outstanding as well.
The committee plans to decorate the park with new lights in time for Christmas.
In July, the committee ordered 29 silhouette snowflake lights, as well as colored string lights, that will appear around the park along Third Street, Fourth Street, and Lafayette Avenue in time for Christmas.
That came after the committee in June sent out a donation form to households, businesses, and organizations within the Palmerton area to solicit community support to help underwrite the cost to purchase new decorations for the borough park in time for Christmas.
Mailings were made to Aquashicola, Bowmanstown, Kunkletown, Lehighton, and Palmerton area homes all within the Palmerton Area School District.
About 1,800 people were expected to get their solicitation as part of their quarterly sewage and water bill from the borough, at which time the committee will make additional donation forms available at the three banks in town, the Palmerton Area Library, and the Palmerton Memorial Pool.
Anyone who would like to contribute may mail their donations to Holiday Lighting Committee, 410 Delaware Ave. Palmerton, PA 18071. Those who send in a donation will receive a thank-you letter.
The lights around the park along Delaware Avenue are expected to be ready by Christmas of 2014.
At a Palmerton Chamber luncheon in March, Federanich said the borough would like to have new Christmas decorations throughout its downtown by 2014. The town committee was formed to pick the decorations, and help raise money to afford them.
Palmerton Area Chamber of Commerce President Peter Kern previously noted that the original decorations were put up in the 1990s, and refurbished about 10 years ago.
The next meeting of the Christmas in the Park committee will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 2, in the borough hall. A meeting of the Palmerton Holiday Lighting Committee will then follow at 7 p.m.