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Annual Holiday Extravaganza Unites Rutherford

Rutherford Girl Scouts wear seasonal red and white to the holiday parade Saturday, Nov. 28.
Rutherford Girl Scouts wear seasonal red and white to the holiday parade Saturday, Nov. 28. Photo Credit: Joshua Jongsma
The tree lights up for the first time in Rutherford Saturday, Nov. 28.
The tree lights up for the first time in Rutherford Saturday, Nov. 28. Photo Credit: Joshua Jongsma
The Rutherford High School band plays holiday music at the tree-lighting ceremony Saturday, Nov. 28.
The Rutherford High School band plays holiday music at the tree-lighting ceremony Saturday, Nov. 28. Photo Credit: Joshua Jongsma
Horses lead part of the holiday parade in Rutherford Saturday, Nov. 28.
Horses lead part of the holiday parade in Rutherford Saturday, Nov. 28. Photo Credit: Joshua Jongsma
Eat more chicken, less turkey, says a group of Rutherford Scouts as they march in the annual holiday parade Saturday, Nov. 28.
Eat more chicken, less turkey, says a group of Rutherford Scouts as they march in the annual holiday parade Saturday, Nov. 28. Photo Credit: Joshua Jongsma
Rutherford Girl Scouts stay warm dressed as hot chocolate in the annual holiday parade Saturday, Nov. 28.
Rutherford Girl Scouts stay warm dressed as hot chocolate in the annual holiday parade Saturday, Nov. 28. Photo Credit: Joshua Jongsma

RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The sights and sounds of the holiday season filled the streets of Rutherford on Saturday as residents tried to avoid rain on their parade.

A light drizzle didn't stop the borough's annual holiday event -- including an actual parade, a football game and a tree lighting.

"It's a great kickoff to the holiday season," Council President Frank Nunziato said. "It's great to see different groups come together."

Rutherford's fire, police and ambulance departments marched with Scouts, the high school band and businesses down Union Avenue toward the library.

Once the sun set, borough officials and Santa lit the tree.

The Rutherford Chamber of Commerce has sponsored the parade for about 65 years, member Maria Johnson said. It's one of their top endeavors along with scholarships for local students, Johnson said.

The day started with a football game between Rutherford and St. Mary High School alumni. Guests brought food donations to the game held at Tryon Field.

St. Mary won the game, but former Mayor Glenn Elliot noted that "everybody wins" in the traditional matchup.

Once the parade ended, residents moved to the holiday village at Lincoln Park. The spot included a "Frozen" musical venue, arts and crafts, horse and carriage rides and pictures with Santa. The Rutherford High School Project Graduation committee sold refreshments.

"We try to get every age involved," said Barbara Bennett of the recreation department. Bennett helps organize the parade each year.

Jenna Baffuto led the parade, dressed as an elf, holding a Rutherford Chamber of Commerce banner. Baffuto said it helped her feel like she was giving back to the community.

"It gets you in the Christmas spirit," she told Daily Voice. "It makes you feel like this is your home. This is where the holidays happen, and it's fun."

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