Hometown Holidays brings together community

The kick-off to last weekend’s Hometown Holidays was a community-wide effort.

At 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 12, Verona resident and chief meteorologist for News 3 Now Gary Cannalte hosted a live broadcast of the evening’s weather report from Central Park.

Moments before the broadcast, a Verona Fire Department truck arrived at the park with Santa Claus in the passenger seat, who came to join Cannalte on camera.

Following the weather forecast, Cannalte, Claus and several dozen children did a countdown to light the trees all throughout Central Park live on News 3 Now’s newscast.

Immediately after the tree lighting, the fire department served chili and hot dogs at the nearby senior center, which the department donated. A fireman’s boot was set out to collect freewill donations for the meal, with all proceeds going to the Badger Prairie Needs Network.

The department served 250 hot dogs and six 18-quart Nescos of chili.

Several children’s librarians from the Verona Public Library led holiday-themed crafts for kids. Children also had an opportunity to individually sit on Santa’s lap while parents took photos.

Carolers from Resurrection Lutheran Church began caroling outside in Central Park during the tree lighting ceremony and moved indoors, continuing their songs and carols during the chili supper.

Contact Neal Patten, Verona Community Reporter at neal.patten@wcinet.com.