By Rich Pollack

The holidays in Highland Beach are about to get a lot brighter with nearly $25,000 worth of lights and displays, including a 25-foot artificial pine Christmas tree and a 12-foot menorah decorating Town Hall.
Residents will also be treated to a two-hour “Light Up the Holidays” celebration officials hope will top those of years past.
New this year will be trolleys making about a dozen stops along the west side of State Road A1A, bringing people to and from the celebration, which takes place from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Nov. 29. The trolleys will run from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.
The expanded “Light Up the Holidays” event at Town Hall and the additional decorations are part of an effort to upgrade the celebration.
“We want to make it beautiful for our town and for our residents,” said Commissioner Rhoda Zelniker. “People really like the idea of coming together for the holidays.”
This year’s celebration will include the return of the Dimensional Harmony chorus from Boynton Beach High School, interfaith holiday wishes and children’s activities such as ornament and dreidel decorations. There will also be a countdown to the tree lighting.
“Our goal is to make the holiday celebration reflect our community,” said Vice Mayor Alysen Africano Nila. Commissioners selected her and Zelniker to work with town staff on the holiday events.
Perhaps the biggest change residents will notice will be in the Town Hall decorations, provided and installed by Brandano Displays of Margate.
“This is something much bigger and much grander than residents have seen in the past,” said Town Manager Marshall Labadie.
Under a four-year, nearly $100,000 lease-to-own agreement, with the town paying about $25,000 per year, Brandano will provide and install thousands of lights and other decorations around the municipal complex, including at the entrances of the Police Department, Fire Department and Town Hall.
In addition, Brandano will install a 25-foot artificial Southern pine Christmas tree as well as a 12-foot-tall menorah and 7-foot-tall dreidel. There will also be a seven-piece nativity scene that will be 6 feet tall.
Commissioners said the new tree and lights will replace a smaller tree, that along with the lights, was old and in disrepair.
The trolleys are new because parking is unavailable at St. Lucy Catholic Church this year. The trolleys will cost the town about $750 each for the four hours.
In the past, residents could park in the church parking lot. But the town and the church could not agree over a request by church leaders to have police officers help with traffic control during major holidays and certain Masses in exchange for using the large lot during the “Light Up the Holidays” celebration.
Labadie, who started as town manager last month, said safety is a priority and the Police Department will coordinate with the trolleys as they make their way along the town’s 3-mile stretch of A1A.
Commissioner Elyse Riesa said the additional decorations as well as the enhanced “Light Up the Holidays” celebration will be something residents will enjoy.
“We’re making ‘Light Up the Holidays’ a totally different event than we’ve ever had before,” she said. “It will be a fun event that renews the energy surrounding the holidays.”

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