In the past, the tree lit for the holidays outside of M&T Bank in Piermont has been a bit taller than the tree lit Saturday night.
“I think that’s important to note,” said Piermont Mayor Chris Sanders Saturday night at the annual Piermont Holiday Festival.
He said the tree was taken down because it looked a bit “disheveled” and was “hacked to death by tree trimmers.” Sanders added that M&T put in a new tree to replace the old one, and he used it Saturday night not only to kickoff the holiday season in Piermont, but as a symbol for the village and its residents as they work to rebuild after getting hit hard by Superstorm Sandy.
“After everything we’ve been through, it takes courage and bravery to move forward, but in the spirit of the season, it’s hope,” Sanders said. “It’s hope that plants a tree, and so that’s what we’ve done for the future of Piermont. We’ve planted this tree and we’re celebrating this tree and the holiday season and the hope that we all believe in.”
Sanders thanked the crowd Saturday night, as well as M&T Bank for putting on the event.
“You understand truly what it means to be a community bank,” he said.
On Saturday, a crowd of 80-plus gathered outside M&T Bank for the Piermont Holiday Festival, which featured performances by a group of students called Twinkle Twinkle Toes, who sang holiday songs, the Orangetown Patriots Jr. Midget and Jr. Pee Wee cheerleaders and John VandenOever, who played guitar and sang, and is also the pastor at the Reformed Church of Piermont.
Sanders and VandenOever also led a group singalong of “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” Sanders then led the Patriot cheerleaders in a cheer and counted down from 10 to light the tree, as well as lights hung on trees along Piermont Ave.
After the tree was lit, a Piermont Fire Department fire truck stopped by, dropping off Santa Claus. Many of the kids in attendance ran up to Santa, although one of the most excited hugs Santa received came from Sanders. For Sanders, it wasn’t just a joyous night, but another step back toward normalcy in Piermont.
“It is going to get better for us. We’re going to rebuild, we’re going to restore,” he said. “We’re coming back.”