Photos: Holiday spirit fills the air at bonfire

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | The bonfire Saturday night stretched for 30 feet.

More than 500 people attended the 13th annual Holiday bonfire Saturday night as Santa Claus arrived via boat to greet the children and light the Christmas tree.

The 30-foot long bonfire was fed logs by volunteers Ed Densieski and his daughter Cassie, Ray Dichoff, Gary Joyce, Martin Sendlewski, Dave Young and Joe Densieski. They used two pallets of pine to get the fire started and had 5 cords of hardwood to burn that the town provided.

To keep the holiday spirit going DJ Phil Schmitt Jr. ‘Make Some Noise’ spun the tunes. And as families waited for Santa Claus, there was free hot chocolate with whipped cream and free cookies from the Blue Duck Bakery.

The bonfire, sponsored by the downtown Business Improvement District’s management association, featured Town councilman Jim Wooten as the emcee. The event was the brainchild of former councilman Ed Densieski.

Santa arrived a little after 5 p.m. on a Christmas-lighted boat on the Peconic River captained by Duane Lewin of Aquebogue. He was escorted to the Christmas tree by Mr. Wooten, who led the children in a countdown from 10 to one when Santa flicked the switch to light the tree.

Children waited in line to visit with Santa in the Gingerbread house, tell them their Christmas wishes and have their photo taken.

Around 6:30 p.m. Rabbi William Siemers and congregants from Temple Israel in Riverhead came down to light the Menorah for the first night of Hanukkah.

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