FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 21, 2007

CONTACT: Tom Plante, 908-527-4746
Wayne Avery, 908-527-4742


Kick Off the Holiday Season in the Watchung Reservation, Dec. 2

holiday season
Santa’s elves eagerly await a visit with you at the Watchung Stable in Mountainside on
Sunday, Dec. 2, from 2:30 – 5:00 p.m.
at Union County’s annual Holiday Lights Celebration. For more information,
call 908-789-3670 or visit the Union County website:

MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ – The Watchung Reservation will come alive with holiday festivities on Sunday, Dec. 2, as the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders presents a fun-filled day for the entire family. Admission to all the events is free of charge.

“Union County’s largest park will be the setting for a variety of activities at the Trailside Nature and Science Center, the Watchung Stable and The Loop playground area. Visit one or all of the sites!” said Freeholder Chairwoman Bette Jane Kowalski. “A free shuttle bus between the events will be available at 2:00 p.m.”

Begin with a stroll through the nature-themed Holiday Boutique in the newly renovated Trailside Nature and Science Center, located at 452 New Providence Road in Mountainside, from 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Visitors may purchase hand-crafted gifts for the holidays made from natural materials. There’ll be something for everyone interested in the beauty of nature.

holiday season

“Jewelry, herbal soaps, handmade scarves, pottery, home décor
and gift baskets are just a few of the items that will be available,” said Freeholder Chairwoman Kowalski. “This is the ideal place to select items that won’t be
found at the mall or in catalogues. I’m sure
you’ll cross a number
of holiday gifts off your list at this show.”

After your shopping experience, you can walk, drive or take the shuttle bus over to
“The Loop” area of the Reservation between 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. to enjoy a complimentary horse-drawn carriage ride through the park, weather permitting.

Enjoy shopping for hand-made nature-themed gifts at the Holiday Nature Craft Show at Trailside Nature & Science Center in Mountainside on Sunday, Dec. 2, from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. For more information, call Trailside at 908-789-3670 or visit the Union County website:
holiday season

After 2:30 p.m., you can visit the Watchung Stable, located at 1160 Summit Lane in Mountainside, for more festivities! Before the 5:00 p.m. lighting of a 40-foot tall Christmas tree and a Chanukah Menorah, enjoy a petting zoo, lead line horse rides, children’s crafts, demonstrations by the Watchung Mounted Drill Team, the Union County Sheriff’s K-9 unit and Union County’s bomb squad robot, barn tours and holiday singers.

Children’s fingerprinting and D-Chips, an additional digital child identification service, will be available at the Watchung Stable from the Union County Police Department. The Watchung Stable Auxiliary will be selling refreshments. Of course there also will be a chance to visit Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus and their elves!

“If you are planning to come with a youngster, let me encourage you to bring a camera to take pictures with Santa,” said Freeholder Kowalski. “We also are asking you to help make the holiday season a little better for someone less fortunate by bringing an item of dry or canned food, or a new, unwrapped toy to Watchung Stable in lieu of an admission fee. All of the items we collect will be distributed through local charities.”

Union County employees will be contributing to the charity drive by taking part in a friendly inter-office competition. County government departments have selected and will be decorating “themed trees.” Come view these trees adorned with items such as hats, scarves, mittens and socks, dolls, sports toys and school supplies. Then cast your vote for your favorite tree! All items and the trees themselves will be distributed to families through the Union County Department of Human Services’ Annual Holiday Toy Drive.

For further information about the Union County Holiday Lights Celebration, the
horse-drawn carriage rides and the Nature Craft Show, call the Department of
Parks, Recreation and Facilities at 908-527-4900; the Watchung Stable
at 908-789-3665; Trailside Nature & Science Center at 908-789-3670;
or visit the Union County website,