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Letter: New Holiday Tradition Begun at Community House

An estimated 1,400 people turned out for Monday's tree lighting celebration at the Moorestown Community House.

An estimated 1,400 people turned out for Monday's tree lighting celebration at the Moorestown Community House. Credit: Rob Scott
An estimated 1,400 people turned out for Monday's tree lighting celebration at the Moorestown Community House. Credit: Rob Scott

To the editor:

A new tradition began this past Monday as Moorestown united on the Community House lawn to celebrate this most wonderful time of year with fun, family and charity.

The Community House board of trustees thanks all who made the tree lighting possible, including Pete Palko and family, Depenbrock Design, Moorestown Hardware, Brandywine Senior Living, Wegmans, Chuck Gill, Moorestown Garden Club, Moorestown Jewish Association, Moorestown High School Madrigals, Philly Pops, Moorestown Home and School Association, CBS3, CW Philly, Salvation Army, Kathy Orr, Moorestown Relief Engine Company, and all the friends and neighbors who shared this joyous event.

An estimated 1,400 people gathered on the front lawn of the Community House to share in our first-­ever tree lighting celebration. This festive, historic event, which was broadcast live on CBS3 by Moorestown’s own Kathy Orr, truly captured the spirit and community that is Moorestown.

“The turnout exceeded all of our expectations, both in the number of people who came out to join us, and in the excitement and enthusiasm that surrounded us,” said George Schulmann, president of the board of trustees. “We believe a new tradition has begun.”

Across the lawn you could hear the seasonal sounds from the Moorestown High School Madrigals and the Philly Pops while enjoying warm hot chocolate and cookies,  along with a reading of “The Night Before Christmas” with Moorestown’s Elf on the Shelf, Timothy R. Hollybottom. And, in celebration of the sixth night of Hanukkah, the Moorestown Jewish Association lit the menorah.

You could also see the generosity of our community as people responded to our invitation to give back, carrying bags of non-­perishable food, warm clothing and unwrapped toys. The Salvation Army bin was overflowing and the Moorestown Home and School Association was elated by the results, collecting at least 40 bags of food and four carloads of clothing, all of which will make a difference to many families.

At 6:15, Kathy Orr began the tree lighting countdown live on CBS3, with Harry Koons performing the honor of lighting the tree.

“Harry has lived here for 54 years. He was 1992 Citizen of the Year, has served on the Community House board for 25 years, was a past president of Rotary, and sits on the board of the Historical Society, to name just a few of his affiliations. There was no question he was the most appropriate person to flip the switch,” stated Laurie Palko, board trustee and committee chair.

Everyone watched in wonder as the 20-foot Norway spruce lit up the lawn. Moments later, Santa arrived on the fire truck to conclude a truly magical evening.

“We wanted Mayberry, and we got it,” exclaimed Laurie Palko. “The Community House is part of what makes Moorestown unique. We want to create memories here that bond people and families to each other and to our town. I believe we have succeeded and I can’t thank our contributors enough for all of their support.”

For information about the Moorestown Community House and to find out how to get involved, visit us at www.thecommunityhouse.com or just stop by.

The Moorestown Community House

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Got something to say? Send letters to the editor to rob.scott@patch.com.
John K December 07, 2013 at 09:08 AM
I agree...it was a wonderful hometown gathering and celebration. Thanks to all those who organized it! The only thing I'd disagree with in this article is the sentence about "Across the lawn you could hear the seasonal sounds from the Moorestown High School Madrigals and the Philly Pops...along with a reading of 'The Night Before Christmas'...." From where I stood in the middle of the crowd, unfortunately it was virtually impossible to hear any of the speaking, singing, or brass playing. Without the amplification being loud enough to capture the crowd's attention (especially all the young children), there was just a continuous level of loud conversation and other activity going on. The only microphone that seemed to work effectively was the one Kathy Orr used for the countdown to the actual tree lighting. I hope, for the sake of all who work so hard to arrange this annual event and for those who come to enjoy it, that a much more robust sound system is used next year.

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