This year’s ceremony will include free hot cocoa, costumed characters, and free photos with Santa, who will be making an extra special entrance this year.
“We are so enthusiastic about this year's event,” said WBID executive director Raquel Olivares. “We are putting together a really nice, fun event for all, complete with music, refreshments, caroling and more. We cannot wait to see everyone there.”
The WBID will also be unveiling new lights on Jamaica Avenue this year, complete with two beautiful “Welcome to Woodhaven” signs at each end of Jamaica Avenue, one near 98th Street and the other near Dexter Court.
The following morning, the Greater Woodhaven Development Corporation will host the annual “Santa Parade” down Jamaica Avenue. Anyone wanting to march in the parade should assemble at the Woodhaven Manor on 96th Street by 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, December 7.
The parade will make its way down Jamaica Avenue and end at Dexter Court. Please call (718) 805-0202 with any questions. And please, if you don’t wish to march in the parade, please make the time to come down to the avenue to wave and cheer on the marchers.
One new holiday treat this year is the Holiday Decorating Contest, which is co-sponsored by the WBID and the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association (WRBA).
“The holiday decorating contest is a great opportunity for Woodhaven residents to get out of the house and reacquaint themselves with the neighborhood,” said WRBA president Stephen Forte. “See how your neighbors take pride in their homes and their neighborhood and maybe make a few new friends.”
You can nominate and vote for your favorite houses online at <>bit.ly/woodhavenlights or call the WBID directly at (929) 460-5808.
One great example of a beautifully decorated home for the holidays is the Jusino household on 91st Street near 86th Avenue.
The director of this production is Charles Jusino, who jokingly refers to himself as a “frustrated actor” and his house around the holidays his “Broadway stage.”
The display in his front yard consists of toy soldiers, penguins, snowmen, teddy bears, Mickey Mouse, gingerbread men, a Ferris wheel, carousel, and, of course, Santa.
“I like to make Christmas special for the kids,” he says.
Jusino has been decorating his house this way for over 20 years here in Woodhaven, after 20 years of doing the same at a home in Cypress Hills.
He credits his love of Christmas to his mother, who sang in a Christmas choir and always made sure the home was beautifully decorated.
“It was her favorite holiday,” he said.
That love for Christmas has given birth to something that brings happiness not only to the residents of Woodhaven, but to the people from all over who come to see the annual display.
“I had one woman last year who was here visiting from Peru and another from Chile,” Jusino said.
Locally, he gets visitors from all over Queens, recalling a van full of people that pulled up one night after having seen pictures of his house on Facebook.
Putting up the decorations takes about two weeks, and when not on display they take up two separate rooms in his attic. And if that wasn’t enough, he’s got a lot more decorations stored in the garage.
“I can‘t fit my cars in there anymore!” he said.
Many of the pieces have been part of his family for years, and he proudly points out some of the older items, many of them dating back to Harrow’s in Valley Stream and, naturally, Lewis' of Woodhaven.
“One year, I came home from work and noticed my lights hadn’t come on,” he recalled.
It turned out that someone had unscrewed most of the bulbs and stolen them.
“After I told Jeff Lewis what had happened, he said ‘Don’t worry about it. I’ve got boxes of lights in the basement,’” Jusino said. “He donated them to me.”
The display that Charles Jusino puts up is a bright spot in our community, a tradition that residents of Woodhaven look forward to each year.
“As long as God gives me energy and strength, I’ll keep it going,” Jusino said.
We look forward to seeing your houses decorated and seeing you at one of the holiday events that are right around the corner.