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40 years of Christmas lights in Chase Creek

An Island tradition joyfully celebrated its 40th year Saturday evening  — the lighting of the Christmas tree floating in Chase Creek. The beautifully illuminated tree in its darkened pool delights visitors and Islanders alike, with residents  getting a special feeling of coming home on December nights when they catch sight of the tree.

A celebration for the 40th birthday was organized by Rich and Sharon Surozenski, Patricia Anzalone, Bill Cummings and Adam Bundy. Stars Café provided the hot chocolate. The tree had been set earlier in the week by Rich Surozensk, and Bill Cummings.

Rich Surozenski with Bill Cummings at the oars, and some help from Jesse, preparing to float the Chase Creek Christmas tree, (Credit: Adam Bundy)

At 2 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 4, Rich and Bill and Bill’s dog Jesse climbed into an aluminum rowboat and rowed to the middle of Chase Creek towing the fully decorated tree. The six-foot tree, mounted on a floating platform, looked a little precarious, especially when Jesse leaned over the gunwales to get a whiff, but the spirit of Christmas was with them.

Islanders gathered in Volunteer Park on Saturday evening for carols and then moved across the bridge to watch 125 lights come alive when Jack Kiffer, who ran The Dory and has been a long-time supporter of the event, flipped the switch.  

Joy on the bridge. (Credit: Francesca Frasco)
A magical night for Islanders of all ages. (Credit: Francesca Frasco)

“O Christmas Tree” was sung as Santa appeared in a boat.

How else would Santa arrive on Shelter Island — on a boat, of course. (Credit: Francesca Frasco)

And then it was back to the park for more caroling and good fellowship for all.