On Jan. 21, in the upstate New York town of Tuxedo, the community gathered in the town’s in Powerhouse Park for their annual Christmas tree bonfire, the first such event since the COVID-19 pandemic.
In attendance were members of the local police and fire departments to ensure the activity was carried out safely and to engage with the local community.
Officer G. Shiloh of the Tuxedo Police Department spoke with Vision Times about the event.
“So what happens is after the Christmas Season people will toss their Christmas Trees on the curb, the town will collect the Christmas trees and then bring them here to burn,” he said. “It makes it another event for everyone to come together and just have a good time.”
“The kids can play, people get some hot chocolate, make some food, maybe see their neighbors. You know, kind of communicate, things like that. Obviously see the police, the fire department, see how things work. So, today’s a pretty cool day for them,“ he said.
Typically the event includes outdoor ice skating as well, but this year, the weather was too warm.
“If it was any colder, they would put water over there and people would go ice skating, but it wasn’t cold enough to do that,” Shiloh said.
Speaking about the community, Officer Shiloh said that “the quality of life here is very good. The community is very tight. Everyone knows each other so that means they can support one another.”
He explained that the local police department’s job is not only to protect the residents of Tuxedo, but also the people passing through. “We get a lot of people passing through,” he said.
Located in the southern corner of New York’s Orange County, Tuxedo hosts the annual New York Renaissance Faire, which is held in autumn. The town also has a scenic hiking area that attracts visitors from across the state and beyond.
Ms. Gonulkanfoi, a local resident, told Vision Times, “We’re proud to be Tuxedo residents and we come to the events in Tuxedo all the time, whenever we can,” and expressed appreciation for her local first responders.
“I’ve had a close relationship with the police department. I helped the town with … their rejuvenation committee. I was on a committee, helping the police be more communicative with the community and they really are, they have been really receptive and my family and I have always felt very safe in Tuxedo, thank goodness,” she explained.
She said she and her family are looking forward to another community event this May, telling Vision Times that “whatever you can do, it’s important to show up and talk to your neighbors.”