The bonfire on the riverfront Dec. 8, 2018. Photo: Denise Civiletti

I would be remiss if I didn’t take the time to thank everyone who helped make this year’s bonfire a great success.

It always makes my heart warm to see not only different groups of volunteers working side by side, but also the many varied community people coming with their families to take time to visit with Santa, get a cup of hot chocolate, and stand around the bonfire catching up and listening to the holiday music playing in the background.

Truth be told this event wouldn’t happen without the support of the Town Board. I will give credit where credit is due. Guy Cawley from buildings and grounds personally saw to staging the area, acquiring the pallets, spent the whole day overseeing the volunteers, and making sure the gingerbread house was set up and ready for the arrival of Santa.

I was met early in the day with the help from Matt Loughlin from the NJROTC program who put a signup sheet for the cadets looking for approximately 10-15 volunteers, which I am told filled up very quickly. They were great help and great example of our youth: Gabriel Thurston, Jason Damon, Kellia Daniel, Grace Johnson, Dana Slattery, Mina Sharpe, America Acros, Kelsey Squires, Erin Farnam, Cameron Rothwell and Matthew Moore. I also want to thank my daughter Alivia Wooten and her friend Ashley Podlas who spent the whole day helping feed the fire and working the hot chocolate stand.

The bonfire coordinated its effort again with the combination of the Lions Club Annual Christmas Parade, which was outstanding; Robert Kozakiewicz was on hand to finalize the lineup and details, and of course Riverhead BID, Diane Tucci and Steven Shauger worked very hard to make sure it all ran smoothly in the supply and distribution of the hot chocolate, as well as the cleanup and disassembly. Diane Tucci coordinated her efforts with the local Girl Scout troops for volunteers to man the station, and of course the biggest scout leader AJ LaCombe was on hand as always to help.

Thank you to all who came together in the spirit of Christmas, fun was had by all, great music from Phil Schmitt, Make Some Noise DJ, a real local professional.

Have a very Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year.

Jim Wooten

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