More than 200 residents gathered at the Glen Head railroad station last Tuesday night, braving the bitter cold. Before them stood a pine tree affixed with Christmas lights. It towered above the shadows cast by the darkening sky.
With the flip of a switch, the lights illuminated, and their colorful glow beamed upon a golden plaque at the base of the tree, dedicated by the local rotary in memory of former business owner Mario Fischetti Sr., of Mario Fischetti Nursery in Glen Head. He died on May 20, 2016, at 80-years-old.
This year’s tree lighting, which has been a tradition in the hamlet for over 40 years, offered an opportunity to honor Fischetti, a beloved business owner that founded his nursery on the basis of “Service First.”
Fischetti’s sons, Mario Jr. and Peter, who now own the nursery, donated the tree. “It’s a great honor,” Peter said, admiring the glow of the twinkling lights. “If you ask anyone in the community, my father was a great man and a generous person.”
Charles Parisi, a member of the Glen Head Rotary, agreed. “He was a member of the community for over 50 years, and did philanthropic work for many organizations,” he said. “He was very generous to anyone that ever needed anything.”
The ceremony was filled with festive holiday cheer. Children and parents were treated to a cup of piping hot chocolate as the sound of Christmas carols, courtesy of North Shore High School’s band, carried over the crowds. Then, old Saint Nick made an appearance, arriving by fire truck to the delight of children, who lined up for a chance to sit on his lap to share their gift requests before the big day.
Joe Pantaleo contributed to this story.