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Malverne Rings in Holiday Season with Annual Lighting [Photos]

Photos of the 2012 Lighting of Malverne festivities.

It wouldn't be the holiday season in Malverne without witnessing Santa riding through the village aboard his sleigh, preceded by his "elves" and followed close behind by two pairs of majestic white horses.

Every Malvernite knows that it's not until the village flips the switch on its holiday tree and the local clergy bless the creche at the center of town that the holiday season officially gets underway.

The annual Lighting of Malverne took place Saturday, Dec. 1, and once again the village's festivities did not disappoint.

Hundreds of families filled Hempstead Avenue and Church Street throughout the night to partake in time-honored holiday traditions including the "Elf Parade," the Church of the Intercessor's Living Nativity, which was complete with live animals and an angelic-sounding choir, and performances by the Dever and Malverne High School bands, Tap to Pointe dancers, the Banjo Rascals and various choirs.

They toasted marshmallows over fire barrels manned by Malverne volunteer firefighters, indulged in food and refreshments served street-side by local merchants, and rode around town in horse-drawn buggies.

Kids had their chance to tell Santa what they want for Christmas and snag a free photo with him inside the Malverne train station, and then danced the night away with Frosty at the Malverne Civic Association's Discoland. The night also featured an ice sculptor.

This year, Olga Dougherty, the widow of the late Malverne Justice James Dougherty, did the honors of lighting the village's tree. Then, Benjamin Truncale Jr. and Nicole Dalto lent their singing talents to make the annual Blessing of the Creche an inspiring event.

To help the youngest victims of Hurricane Sandy, the Civic Association also encouraged residents to bring an unwrapped toy or book to donate to children in East Rockaway and Island Park. Roughly 100 gifts were collected during the lighting, and donations of toys, books, cash or gift cards can still be brought to Village Hall from now until Dec. 14 on weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Project H.O.T. S.H.O.T.S., a non-profit based in Malverne, has also agreed to match the amount of presents collected, doubling the amount of gifts that will be sent to local families impacted by Sandy.

Click through the gallery above to see photos of this year's Malverne Lighting. You can also upload your photos too by clicking here.

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