Local heroes to light Brielle’s Christmas tree Dec. 5

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The Brielle Recreation Department is organizing the annual Christmas Tree Lighting, which is slated for Sunday, Dec. 5 at 6 p.m. in Brielle Park. Officially lighting the tree will be local heroes Andy Jacobs and Sgt. First Class Erin Smith, along with their families. 

This past June, Mr. Jacobs and off-duty State Trooper Sgt. Smith assisted two struggling kayakers in the Manasquan Inlet. Mr. Jacobs, a Brielle resident, was riding his bicycle on the Glimmer Glass Bridge when he saw the two women in lifejackets floating near an overturned kayak. He then jumped off of the bridge to assist them. Sgt. Smith was driving on the bridge when she noticed the commotion in the water, and also jumped in to assist in their rescue. Nobody was seriously injured in the incident. 

“The community was appreciative then of our local heroes and the Brielle Parks and Recreation Commission thought it would be nice to start the holiday season recognizing them and their families at our tree lighting,” Brielle Recreation Director John Devereux told The Coast Star. “It’s a festive night and their appearance as the official tree lighters will only add to the excitement of the season.” 

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The ceremony, which is over 25-years-old, will feature hot chocolate, assorted cookies and a performance by the Brielle Elementary School choir. Joining residents at the ceremony will be characters including The Grinch, Frosty the Snowman, The Gingerbread Man, Rudolph the Red-Nosed-Reindeer, Bumble the Abominable Snowman and more. Residents should also expect a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus on a firetruck. 

Mr. Devereux is excited for the tradition’s return, since it wasn’t held last year due to the pandemic. 

“We’re excited to go back to the old ways,” Mr. Devereux told The Coast Star. “Of having the town come out in-person to help celebrate the holiday season with the annual tree lighting.” 

Art Foreman, the ceremony’s coordinator, is also looking forward to the event’s return. 

“We have had snow in years past which has made for a perfect backdrop, hopefully we will get lucky again this year,” Mr. Foreman said.  “What a great way to start the holiday season and bring our community together.”

The ceremony’s rain date will be Monday, Dec. 6, and the tree will remain lit until Jan. 8. Due to its outdoor setting, the ceremony will not require masks or social distancing.

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