Well, we have to say the Christmas and Holiday Celebration here in Jamestown on Friday evening was probably one of the biggest and best yet. Everyone came together in a holiday celebration like none other we have ever had. The city of Jamestown worked to produce an event that certainly was awe inspiring. Downtown Jamestown is sparkling, fresh and one of the most festive cities I think you will be able to find.
We keep seeing on the national news how great the Christmas trees are in New York City and Washington, D.C. Well, let me tell you when our very own 50-foot Christmas tree was lit at the beginning of the parade it was breath-taking and brought cheers from young and old alike. Mayor Teresi, Paul Cesana and I were extremely honored and proud to be part of this spectacular tree lighting - I think we have something in this ceremony other communities only dream about.
There is a huge amount of work and preparation for this event. I want to thank John Williams and the Jamestown Parks Department for their part - it takes not only preparation before the celebration but a lot of work after the event and the next day. Both the Jamestown Police and Fire departments are a very integral part of this celebration. The BPU provides a source of power for the staging of the event - we could not do it without this power. The DPW is always there for back-up, and the back office work is carried out by the Jamestown City Clerk's office. Thank you, Team Jamestown. We also want to thank The Resource Center and the TRC Foundation for their partnership in this event. I personally want to thank Tiffani Conti, Ashley Anderson, all of our volunteers and the DJDC organization for their dedicated work for this event as well as all year long.
Now I have a little side story to tell you about the Jamestown community. As you know, the Jamestown Chamber of Commerce, Marty Idzik, Bill Stevenson and the DJDC worked to acquire donations to "Stuff The Bus" to help those in the New York City/New Jersey area recover from the recent super storm. The Dr. Lillian Vitanza Ney Renaissance Center was a collection point for these donations. In addition, the Vikings, Robert H. Jackson Center and the Reg Lenna Civic Center were drop-off points as well as Ann Mason actually marching with a truck in the parade.
The buses were to be at the old Ames Plaza at 10:30 p.m., following the parade, to be loaded with people going to New York City with the compartments underneath the bus typically empty on such a trip. Stevenson got the idea of sending these recovery donations to New York City in the empty compartments. There would be two full size coaches making the trip. The buses were to leave Jamestown following the parade.
We had collected a lot of donations at the Renaissance Center. All the other locations had gathered lots of usable donations. After the parade, we went back to the Renaissance Center to load donations and were amazed to find people had left donations all night long - and that the amount of goods had doubled. We loaded all of these donations and, four truck loads later, we met the buses and completely filled their baggage compartments with donations to help with storm relief. Jamestown not only had a great celebration but area residents opened their hearts to other people in a great humanitarian effort at this time of the year. This all leaves me a little speechless.
Thank you, Jamestown, and may you all have a Merry Christmas and a happy holiday season.