Fulton Christmas Tree Lighting: A Family Tradition

Photo provided by Rick Grosvent
Mayor Ronald Woodward Sr., Santa Claus, and Mrs. Claus are greeted by a large crowd at the Fulton Christmas Tree Lighting.

FULTON, NY – On December 1, with the official countdown to Christmas under way, the city of Fulton held its annual tree lighting event to kick off the “most wonderful time of the year.”

Families bundled up to watch the large tree across from City Hall be lit up in colorful lights by none other than Santa and Mrs. Claus while free donuts, popcorn, and hot chocolate played a part in keeping guests warm.

Photo provided by Rick Grosvent Santa and Mrs. Claus made a trip to Fulton to lead the countdown to flick the switch and light the city's Christmas tree.
Photo provided by Rick Grosvent
Santa and Mrs. Claus made a trip to Fulton to lead the countdown to flick the switch and light the city’s Christmas tree.

The crowds then moved inside to warm up and listen to musical entertainment in the Municipal Building or do crafts and have their face painted in the All Saints Episcopal Church next door.

“It’s a pretty large contingency, over 50 volunteers we have involved to make this happen,” said Barry Ostrander, Superintendent of Parks and Recreation. “It involves all different sectors of our community. The churches are involved, local businesses, the school district, it really involves every part of our community.”

The ten-person Christmas Tree Lighting Committee is led by Ostrander and is responsible for hosting the event and finding the many volunteers that donate their time to make it happen.

These individuals paired with numerous local sponsors including Dunkin Donuts, Fulton Savings Bank, Fulton Alliance Church, Fulton CYO, Fulton Rotary Club, Fulton Athletics Boosters, Catholic Charities, YMCA, Girl Scouts, Johnstons LP Gas, City of Fulton, Mimi’s Drive-In, Uniforms Etc., and the Marine Corps Auxiliary League, make the event a success year after year.

Photo provided by Rick Grosvent Rudolph greets a young visitor at the annual Fulton Christmas Tree Lighting.
Photo provided by Rick Grosvent
Rudolph greets a young visitor at the annual Fulton Christmas Tree Lighting.

And year after year, families show up to partake in the fun.

Joleen DiBartolo said her family has come every year since her son was born seven years ago and has been continued as a family tradition each holiday season including her 2-year-old daughter now, too.

“It’s nice, a good community event. The kids really like to see Santa and it’s really how we kick off the holiday season every year,” she said.

With so much happening, it’s no surprise the kids in attendance enjoy their time.

Santa and Mrs. Claus make a grand appearance each year in a Fulton Fire Department fire engine to lead the crowd in a countdown to lighting the city’s big tree, a tree originally planted years ago across from City Hall for the sole purpose of the Christmas tree lighting, Ostrander said.

Free arts and crafts, snacks, hot chocolate, music, and pictures with Santa are all best sellers for the kids, with some extra excitement from seeing the whole Christmas gang including Frosty, Rudolph, and plenty of elves throughout the evening.

Photo provided by Rick Grosvent Ryder Congdon, 6, sits with his sister Kaydrie Miller, 1, on Santa's lap.
Photo provided by Rick Grosvent
Ryder Congdon, 6, sits with his sister Kaydrie Miller, 1, on Santa’s lap.

“I think my favorite part is the arts and crafts,” said 8-year-old, Kiesha.

Keisha and her family attend the Christmas tree lighting every year as well, “it’s like a ritual for us,” said her mother, Tabitha.

“My favorite part is when Santa comes!” said seven-year-old, Austin DiBartolo.

Happy kids and families is the end result that shows Ostrander and the Christmas Tree Lighting Committee their hard work has been worthwhile.

“It’s fantastic. Every year it’s amazing and comes together very well, we couldn’t do it without the support of our sponsors and volunteers,” said committee member, Norman Foster.

An event that started rather small according to Ostrander, has grown into a family tradition for many families in Fulton. “I’m pleased with it,” he said.


  1. Sad thing about this is that the lack of advertising, this hurt a lot of local families. I heard from a few Facebook friends that it was happening after the fact, they also reported that the crowd was no where near what it had been. I work with needy families and watch for community events, I saw nothing on this.

  2. We really do try to publicize this event every year as much as possible. This year Oswego County Today, The Valley New and the Palladium Times published a press release about it. Syracuse.com did an online feature on area tree lightings which included Fulton. There is also the City Website, http://www.cityoffulton.com and the Parks & Recreation Department has its own Facebook page. Flyers were distributed from all three Dunkin Donuts the CYO , YMCA and the Salvation Army. You can also contact the City of Fulton Parks & Recreation about upcoming events. I hope this helps!

  3. CONFUSED-I agree there seemed to be a lack of multiple information announcements about this event. Even at last months common council meeting when it was announced only after a resident asked when it was. It is one of the events that is totally free to the public and a very well presented event and is always a big hit with the kids both young and old. Don’t know the reason it wasn’t in the other news outlets. I know it was in this one. You must have missed it.

  4. Somehow I missed it, but it appears so did a lot of other people. We have to remember that in our city that not everyone has online access to see things online, nor do they have resources to spend at DD or the Y so getting a flyer there doesn’t work. I know a lot of work goes into this event as I have been involved in that process many years ago so I do appreciate that.

  5. albeit was chilly and windy….it was well done. Smaller crowd but the kids were having a great time. Thank you Fulton, I enjoyed it.

  6. Confused: I stand corrected as to the information announcements being in multiple news outlets. Not being one that entertains the idea of standing outside for long periods of time I wasn’t really watching any of the other news outlets. Thank you Joann Cavalier for the hard work and the information. More than likely the poor weather was the reason for lower numbers this year. Snow brings more out than rain does. From the pictures another fine job done by all. That So: yes more people read Oswego.com than people think. It is followed by a large number of people. It is the only true news outlet in Oswego County not controlled by any Political Party. Thank goodness for Oswego County.com. Steve and Mikayla do an outstanding job Thank you two.

  7. To “that so”,
    Oswego County Today, has been in Fulton since 1999 once known as Fulton Daily News and Oswego Daily News. On average we have 4,000 to 5,000 unique readers daily. Residents know us well. WE have the best reporters for the county, Steve and Mikayla. Our reader’s check in two to three time per day because we are a valued source of information and news. I am very glad to see you are one of our readers as well. Thank you for your in put.
    Happy Holidays to all!
    Fred Reed

  8. So sick of people like Confused trashing things like this that people like Barry and Joan, and all the volunteers put in there own time to make happen. Look in the paper, look at the City website, call the office, don’t complain unless you can do better.

  9. ZEll I wasn’t trashing anyone, only saying that compared to other years there was not as much advertising. believe it or not the are a large number or lower level families in our community that don’t have Internet or newspaper access. Putting all of the apples in the same basket may not work for all parties. As far as doing better, it’s funny that I actually used to be part of this activity, as well as many others to improve our community. Due to professional reasons I won’t share my name, but I’m curious how you help our community?

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