Camuso Holiday Display Finds a New Home at the Gazebo

Local Holiday Attraction will be part of Livingston’s Winter Festival

The holiday decorations at the Camuso home on Burnett Hill Road have been a local attraction for many years, brightening the holiday season with an extensive display.  When Ernie Camuso passed away recently, his family donated the decorations to the community, so his holiday vision could live on.

The question of what to do with the decorations was answered by the newly formed Camuso Holiday Decorations Committee, consisting of some 20 local residents,  and the BID (Livingston’s Business Improvement District).  Councilman Steve Santola, committee co-chair, said Monday night, “On Dec. 3, 2011 the Camuso Holiday Display makes its return to Livingston as part of Livingston’s first-ever Winter Festival.”  The Camuso display will be one of a number of events at the Gazebo area of the Oval across from t, beginning Dec. 3 and running through Jan. 2, 2012.

The opening on Dec. 3rd will include a live performance by the Livingston High School chorus, horse drawn carriage rides sponsored by the Livingston Area Chamber of Commerce, and a “throw the switch” ceremony to begin the holiday season. Thereafter, the display will be open every night through New Years. The Winter Festival will include various special events including an evening with the Livingston AARP Chapter Chorus, performances by local youth groups and the annual UNICO sponsored Evening with Santa.

The Camuso Holiday Decorations Committee raised more than $12,000 from local residents and businesses. Fund-raising Chairman Gina Goldman said, “Every dollar raised will go toward the preservation of the display and funding of the Winter Festival; we have been amazed at the generosity the community has shown when it comes to this local treasure.” 

Santola advised, “The committee’s mission for the display is to build community pride and spirit and to promote local retailers and restaurants.” “While we are very appreciative of the assistance provided by the township while the Committee got its bearings, beginning in January the committee will become an independent conservancy operating in partnership with the Business Improvement District and local volunteers.” “In this age of austerity, the Committee believes it is important to run the Winter Festival and erect the Camuso Display with as little public assistance as possible,” commented Santola.

Beth Lippman, the Executive Director of the Livingston Business Improvement District (BID) noted, “The BID is pleased to be a big part of restoring Livingston history. I think most families in town, and in the state for that matter, made at least one trip to the Camuso home on Burnett Hill Road. Beginning this year, we welcome all of those visitors back and encourage them to shop and dine in Livingston as part the experience.”

Co-Chair and former Mayor Ellie Cohen reported in order to locate the collection on town property and comply with federal law, the Camuso’s have donated all overtly religious objects such as the crèche (nativity scene) and the crucifix to a local church.

theLtowninformant November 17, 2011 at 05:28 PM
to bad the town and Deputy Mayor Santola didnt say how the town workers broke and damaged many of the pieces when they were putting them in storage under the northland center and that most of the money collected went to repair them
Joyce Gore November 17, 2011 at 06:21 PM
I am working with many other wonderful volunteers to paint and repair many of the characters. A good many of the characters were old and in need of repair-and we are working to get them ready for the celebration on December 3rd. I don't know where "theL town informant" is getting his information-but I wish he/she would come out and not hide under being "anonymous".
Gina Goldman November 17, 2011 at 08:56 PM
Ditto Joyce! "Too" bad the informant can't spell and doesn't have his/her facts in order. Everyone may remember that these beautifully hand-crafted figures were exposed to the winter elements for many years. They are being lovingly restored to their former glory by a decated group of volunteers who in my opinion are true artisans. We have men and women who are replacing rusted motors, reinforcing weak limbs, washing and repairing Mr. Camuso's beautiful hand-made costumes, and painstakingly repainting and glossing character faces which may have been originally painted 20 years ago. While this is being done with an incredible amount of volunteer time and donated paint, except for cleaning supplies and supplies used to reinforce or repair aged parts, it is being done with a minimum of monetary outlay. Ltowninformant--pick up a spray bottle of Fantastic and come join us! It will make you feel good!
theLtowninformant November 17, 2011 at 11:02 PM
i ment no offense to the volunteers who are doing a wonderful job repairing and repainting these figures i aprrecatiee what you are doing as i remember many years seeing them in person and how wonderful they were to me and my family. Last year i heard from a few people that when the town workers put them in the basement many of the figures were damaged and it made me pretty upset, thats all i ment by my comments. thank you though Gina and Joyce for all your hard work and all the hard work of the committee


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